Barry Jenkins, the Director of If Beale Street Could Talk, on one of my favorite ideas: the silence where art happens.
While watching the movie I noticed that there were long stretches of silence. I asked him about that. Was it intentional? My hunch was that it allowed us as viewers to occupy the film. In those moments, the audience closes the distance and that’s where the art takes place. This is true of all art– paintings, plays, etc. Good work isn’t ladled over the audience, but draws the audience into active thought. Jenkins’ response:
“When you watch it with an audience, in that space, what you see is people going back to their own memories and the laughter just spreads around the room. And the scene that on its surface seems very quiet and very methodically paced, is just filled with these grenades of experience, which is what I love to do most as a filmmaker.”