African American auteurs and their greatest films

If Beale Street Could Talk is the latest film from director Barry Jenkins, one of the most vital voices in African American cinema. Critic Travis Johnson reflects on the greatest African American film directors of all time, and picks their best work.

Having taken home Oscar glory with 2016’s Moonlight, Barry Jenkins returns to the big screen with If Beale Street Could Talk, an adaptation of James Baldwin’s acclaimed 1974 novel of the same name. It is a film that proves Jenkins is one of the most vital voices in African-American cinema today.

He joins a pantheon of vital African American filmmakers who are making waves in the screen space. We like to think that we’re living in a more enlightened age now and that audiences and critics are open to more diverse voices. However, the recent…

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