The movies to see in Februaryby Francine Stock / January 18, 2017 / Leave a comment
Published in February 2017 issue of Prospect Magazine
©Paramount Pictures Fences On release from 17th February The growing popularity of theatre-to-cinema relays augurs well for this screen adaptation of August Wilson’s 1985 Pulitzer prize-winning play. Denzel Washington directs and stars as Troy Maxson, a black 1950s patriarch working the refuse trucks but haunted still by his near-miss at baseball stardom. Washington and Viola Davis, as his wife Rose, below, reprise their Tony-winning roles from the 2010 Broadway revival. The film may not stretch cinematic form but Director of Photography Charlotte Bruus Christensen finds intimacy and power in domesticity. Not enough people know this play, an African-American counterpart to Death of a Salesman, but that may change as Fences clocks up awards nominations. Toni Erdmann On release from 3rd February Winfried is a semi-retired music teacher given to practical jokes. His daughter Ines is a sleek management consultant. She’s clearly successful; he’s a slightly embarrassing eccentric. When he decides they should spend more time together, perceptions unravel. In this German-Austrian film, writer-director Maren Ade balances character (and subtle performance by Sandra Hüller and Peter Simonischek) with absurdity and acid observations on contemporary capitalist manners. Moonlight On release from 17th February Barry Jenkins’s film tackles identity as defined by relationships, work and sexuality. Don’t worry if that sounds self-conscious (or sociological): Moonlight is lusciously subjective, exploring the experience of growing up black and gay in Miami with three actors as the same character over time. Adapted from Tarell Alvin McCraney’s play, the film remains intensely personal, while delivering insights into the complexity that produces narrow stereotypes. Outstanding support from Mahershala Ali as what’s sadly a screen rarity—a tender black father-figure.