Barry Jenkins’ Favorite Movies: 10 Movies He Loves and Recommends

The “Moonlight” writer/director’s 2022 Sight and Sound poll ranks “In the Mood for Love” and “Sátántango” among the best films of all time.

Barry Jenkins' favorite movies

(Clockwise from bottom left): “Satan Tango”, “In the Mood for Love”, Barry Jenkins, “Killer of Sheep” and “Taxi Driver”

Courtesy Everett Collection/Getty Images

Barry Jenkins has been a household name for a wide variety of filmmakers ever since he dramatically won Best Picture at the 89th Academy Awards in 2017. The “Moonlight” writer/director’s tender approach to trapped and toxic characters first crystallized in his moving and romantic debut. Medicine for the Melancholy” in 2008 – of particular interest to those who see the complex considerations of the black American experience richly reflected on screen.

It’s fitting, then, that the If Beale Street could talk director has named three undisputed American classics about socio-economic divides in the BFI’s 2022 Best Films of All Time poll. Martin Scorsese’s “Taxi Driver”, Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing” and Charles Burnett’s “The Killer” all capture an element of the social division that unfolded in Jenkins’ later films, although only Lee’s tragicomedy set in Brooklyn from 1989. breaking the poll’s top 25 (24th on the final list). Jenkins also singled out Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 sci-fi epic “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

Jenkins nominated seven more films for the international selections. There is Miklós Jancsó’s 1966 “SGEGÉNYLEGÉNYEK” or “A körverseny” about Hungary: a seven-hour epic about a city that survived the fall of communism. As well as the tragic romance “In the Mood for Love”: Wong Kar Wai’s widely celebrated 2000 masterpiece from France and Hong Kong, which took fifth place in the final vote. Other French films on Jenkins’ ballot are Med Hondo’s “West Indies: Fugitive Slaves of Freedom” and Claire Denis’ “Beau travail.”

Jenkins hasn’t directed a feature film since 2018, but recently produced Charlotte Wells’ Aftersun and Raven Jackson’s All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt. Both were made for A24, which also made Moonlight. The screenwriter also wrote the upcoming sports biopic “Flint Strong” about Olympian Claressa Shields: the first American woman to win gold in boxing. The film will be directed by Rachel Morrison in her feature film debut.

Read on for Barry Jenkins’ list of his 10 favorite movies and his comments from them 2022 ‘Sight and Sound’ vote. He summed up his thoughts on the exercise as follows: “It was impossible. But damn if it wasn’t fun.”

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