Malden Public Library’s Screening of Moonlight

Anyone who follows up on film will surely be familiar with Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight adapted from the screenplay written by Tarell Alvin McCraney.

The film, which was released late last year, tells an unprecedented story of adolescence and sexuality in a predominantly black community that has struck a chord with critics and moviegoers alike and continues to resonate with viewers months following its release. It carries various accolades and awards to its name, such as the Academy Award for Best Motion Picture affirming that the film never felt short regarding the heavy topics that were explored in the film.

An example of Moonlight-themed desserts served at the screening. Photo by Toby Pitan.

The Malden Public Library, aware of the sweeping enthusiastic reception, held a free screening of the film on Wednesday, March 29 from 6:00-8:00 pm. The screening was open to the public and was wheelchair accessible. Overall, the turnout met expectations considering the popularity and cultural significance of the film. A queue had formed outside the Maccario Room, the room where the screening was held, from even before the doors were open to the public.

Adults were eager and interested to experience Moonlight, whether it was for the first time or to help themselves to another viewing of it. At the showing, the library had provided the public with a generous amount of refreshments for its viewers to enjoy while they watched the movie. Many of the refreshments provided were Moonlight themed and included desserts such as half moon cookies, Moon Pies and Starburst. Attendees could also help themselves to individually wrapped classic popcorn, which was a favorite amongst many viewers. A variety of drinks were provided as well. Even the decor, from the napkins to the cups, matched the color scheme of the film and excited the viewers for the movie to come.

Flyer advertising movie night at the Malden Public Library. Photo by Toby Pitan.

One viewer, Cameron Layne, had heard about MPL’s screening of the film from the newspaper and the publicity employed by the library. Layne found the film “very enlightening” and described how he thought that the storylines depicted were “very real...the love and humanity [was] understandable”. Layne also added that he found that the MPL’s Movie Night series is “community-oriented” and the he found that it was “nice to take part in the community and contribute to the library”.

When asked about the cultural significance of the film especially given our current political climate, Layne responded by saying that “[he] [didn’t] think Donald Trump had seen the movie” and that it would be “good [for] [him] to be open to it as other politicians and presidents would be”. Furthermore, Layne elaborated on how the film was “based upon black people [that] may not have been easily accepted”. According to Layne, considering Malden’s “growing community” and the fact that it is “bubbling with people” of various ages and interests, it is important to “take part in civic and political interactions [and] [be] able to interact politically and socially”, something Layne has been active in.

Notwithstanding the great turnout of the film, the library still encourages people to attend more screenings. The library is constantly planning to air various films, many of which are decided regarding its popularity at the time. Even so, the library still wishes to reach larger audience particularly high school students or teens in general. The library often airs films that will attract teen audiences such as Sci-Fi related films and a plethora of book-to-movie adaptations throughout the school extending through summer vacation. Frequent library visitors can be on the lookout for posters around the library advertising these various Movie Nights, take a flyer from the checkout desk or even follow up online to catch the next showing if interested.


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