“My favourite film by my favourite filmmaker… “I think of Claire as a ‘nuts and bolts’ filmmaker, and yet, she arrives at this level of metaphor that other filmmakers just aren’t capable of. Her films are very human examples of sensuality.”
- Barry Jenkins on Claire Denis, Director of Beau Travail
One of the clearest influences on Barry Jenkins' Moonlight, Claire Denis’ corporeal study of masculinity set amongst the French Foreign Legionnaires welds near-experimental formal minimalism with a savage exposure of male aggression, jealousy and repressed homosexual desire.
Exploring the near mythical world of the French Foreign Legion this stunning combination of literature, music, poetry and dance stars Denis Lavant as Galoup, a sergeant-major whose position and power are threatened when the bravery and heroism of new recruit Sentain (Grégoire Colin) attracts the attention of the platoon's commandant (Michel Subor). Enraged, Galoup plots Sentain's downfall, a doomed course of action that will lead to his own undoing.
In Moonlight Barry Jenkins adopted shared themes with Beau Travail, and in Claire Denis found inspiration from a filmmaker who could both challenge and reflect on masculinity whilst never judging her protagonists, accepting that sometimes there is only one choice that a person can make.