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Raoul Peck on why this scene from ‘Moonlight’ is one of the best he’s seen in film

Raoul Peck, director of the Oscar-nominated documentary, “I Am Not Your Negro,” says whenever he thinks about all of the films made this year, he always comes back to a final scene from “Moonlight.”

“Moonlight,” which is nominated for best picture in the Oscars award ceremony next weekend, follows a boy who grows up black, gay and poor in Miami in the 1980s. As a child, he is called “Little,” as a teenager, “Chiron,” and as an adult, “Black.” It is the portrayal of these adult years, and the moment Black reconnects with his childhood friend Kevin, that impressed Peck. In his words, here’s why.

Note: His words have been slightly edited for clarity.

“I see all sorts of film, because I always find something that I can use, whether it’s because I say: ‘I will never do that,’ or something I feel that the director has succeeded in doing.

Filmmaker Raoul Peck. Credit: LYDIE/SIPA

Filmmaker Raoul Peck. Credit: LYDIE/SIPA

A good example is ‘Moonlight’ … in particular what the main actor [Trevante Rhodes] does at the end of the movie. I have never seen something like this in a movie, whether it’s a classic movie, a French movie, or an American movie. What he did without words to tell another man how much he loves him, and what it meant to him, [is incredible]. The last scene, where he is saying: ‘Nobody else has touched me since that time you touched me the first time.’

The guy [Black] is a bully. You think he’s a gangster. He’s probably a gangster in the movie. [Yet he’s able] to show such a tenderness. And it was not a tenderness about homosexual love, it was really a human tenderness that I’ve rarely seen on film …

Sometimes in a whole film it can be one scene that changes the destiny of a movie. I think that is the richness of ‘Moonlight’ for me. It’s not the whole film, but this particular scene which is incredible, and a director succeeds in those probably once or twice in his life.”

Watch the scene that leads up to Black’s exchange with Kevin in the player below.

Watch NewsHour correspondent Jeffrey Brown’s full interview with Raoul Peck, and his piece on “Moonlight,” here.

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