Maybe the only Barry Jenkins-released work that I’d never seen before today (I only just learned that it’s been available online for several months), it was commissioned by the BORSCHT Film Festival in Miami, FL, which commissions and showcases films by emerging artists “that tell Miami stories that go beyond the typical portrayal of a beautiful but vapid party town.”
Barry was born and raised in Miami’s Liberty City, by the way.
Barry’s BORSCHT short, which was actually produced in 2011, is tiled “Chlorophyl.” It was one of 6 commissioned films by BORSCHT, and would eventually screen at the festival that same year.
The Miami-set film, set against some of Miami’s hidden architectural gems, follows a listless girl as she struggles with unrequited love, moving to the beat of the city. It stars then first-time actress and Miami local Ana Trevino.
For some back-story, to assist with your appreciation of “Chlorophyl,”, here’s a piece from BORSCHT’s release statement for the film:
Born in Miami, Barry brought the understanding of a native but with the emotional distance of an expatriate. He had grown up in the city and moved on — only to return years later and find that a new Miami has sprung up in his absence. To me, this meant that Barry was able to look at the city with new eyes. The resulting short film is not Barry’s experience; it’s his exploration of a Miami that didn’t exist when he last lived here. Astonishingly, the city featured in the movie has existed for only about five years, if even that long. Miami’s development has been so rapid that most of our locations – a re-purposed train station turned music venue, an elegant private art collection, a bombed out construction site and a swank new condo – all manifested after 2006. Interestingly, in the two short years since this short premiered, some of the skylines and streets have already changed dramatically again. I hope that one day the Internet gifts us a supercut of moments in Barry’s films where the latent motif of gentrification bubbles to the surface. Alas, you will have to follow those threads on your own for now. We are very proud to present the movie in its entirety for the first time ever online, with a foreword by Brazilian film philosopher and animator Bernardo Britto:”
Read Britto’s full essay here.
And then watch “Chlorophyl” below in full (or watch it first, and read the essay afterward):