Under the Influence

What Wong Kar Wai Taught Barry Jenkins About Longing

When filmmakers talk about the movies that have directly inspired them, their insights can serve as a reminder of the sense of kinship and affinity that often exists among artists separated by time and geography. Over the last several months, we’ve invited some of our favorite contemporary directors to discuss films from the collection that have been important in shaping their own work. For the inaugural video in our new series Under the Influence, Barry Jenkins—whose sophomore feature, Moonlight, won big at last night’s Gotham Awards and just garnered best director and best supporting actress from the National Board of Review—stopped by the Criterion library to share his passion for the films of Wong Kar Wai.

An emotionally stirring journey through the coming-of-age of a young black man in Miami, Moonlight has established Jenkins as one of the most vital storytellers on the independent film scene. His wide-ranging movie love shines through in the film’s formal precision and romantic yearning, qualities that call to mind Wong’s Chungking Express and In the Mood for Love. In the below video, Jenkins explains why these films continue to intoxicate him.

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