How If Beale Street Could Talk & High Life understand physical intimacy

It always starts with a kiss. Heads tilt and slowly turn toward each other, eyes meet and silently acquiesce. Two people kiss like they’re saying hello without words, like it’s a formality, a toe dipped into the chilly water before jumping in. The poolside metaphor draws a romantic picture of the most basic form of foreplay, before sex. Kissing is often connected to sex, but, in the movies—like in reality—it doesn’t always have to be. Two filmmakers at the top of their game know this, two masters of human emotion and existential impact: Barry Jenkins and Claire Denis.

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