Film Blackness: American Cinema and the Idea of Black Film
Black Maybe: Medicine for Melancholy, Place, and Quiet Becoming
This chapter discusses Barry Jenkins’s Medicine for Melancholy (2008), exploring the film’s accounting of blackness, city, and historiographic rupture in the age of neoliberalism. The chapter argues that the film’s story of a black man and black woman who couple for a day after a one-night stand is animated by issues such as melancholy, cosmopolitanism, love, desire, attachment, fantasy, gentrification, and the cultural geography of San Francisco. The film’s narrativized tracking of this couple poignantly focuses on the shifting cultural and racial textures of San Francisco. This diacritical reading of the film as fiction and chronicle considers the history of San Francisco as mediated by anxieties of black diasporic absence that are compelled by a romance conceit. In this instance of film blackness there is a complicated sense of how place impacts blackness in tandem with negotiations of futurity and the everyday.