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If Beale Street Could Talk Barry Jenkins

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Harlem Shuffled: Barry Jenkins isn’t Blind to “If Beale Street Could Talk”

Harlem Shuffled: Barry Jenkins isn’t Blind to “If Beale Street Could Talk”

Arguably 2016 was Barry Jenkins‘ big coming out party and curiously sharing a place together along with Moonlight on several top ten lists was Raoul Peck’s I Am Not Your Negro (based on James Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript Remember This House).

Now, in a twist of cosmic fate (more like Oscar clout) and wanting to adapt this project for a while, Jenkins along with newly minted Pastel prod co. partners Adele Romanski, Sara Murphy and Mark Ceryak have teamed with a pair of aces in the Annapurna and Plan B folks to bring Baldwin’s If Beale Street Could Talk to the big screen. Lensing will begin in October, and we can expect pre-TIFF casting news for the film’s romantic leads and chief antagonistic force in the months ahead.

Gist: This is the story of Tish, a newly engaged Harlem woman who races against the clock to prove her lover’s innocence while carrying their first born child. It is a celebration of love told through the story of a young couple, their families and their lives, trying to bring about justice through love, for love and the promise of the American dream.

Worth Noting: Jenkins has been personally invested in this project – he “wrote the screenplay during the same summer sojourn in 2013 when he penned Moonlight.”

Do We Care?: Circle this as one of the most anticipated films for 2018. 2016 was a big year for the filmmaker and (via Peck’s film) the author, but last year was perhaps an even bigger deal for James Laxton. We can already imagine how a shifting scenery (Puerto Rico included) and immediacy will contribute to the film’s DNA. Peg this with a TIFF/Venice/Telluride date.

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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