Listening to Aretha Franklin can do wonders for your heart and soul…
Colman Domingo opens himself up in Jeff Le Bars and Jérémie Balais’ dreamy animated short film, New Moon. Adapted by Domingo’s play A Boy and His Soul, New Moon plays through the events of a sweaty evening when you can’t tell if it’s colder inside your house or sitting on the front porch. It is a loving ode to motherhood and how mothers can lift you straight up from your heart to make you believe that you can achieve anything. It is a beautifully drawn memory.
JJ loves spending time with his mom in the summer when rules seem to go out the window. You can stay up late and your parents talk to you in a slightly relaxed way, because they know those times in the heat are precious. On a particularly serene evening, JJ’s mom asks him to go inside and get her pleather pocketbook (“Old school Black women call them pocketbooks to this day”) so she can fill it with the moon’s beaming light. That light means opportunity and fortune, and she is going to soak up as much as she can.
Domingo serves as writer of Moon and as the film’s Storyteller, a guide through this memory. Hearing Domingo recount this story exudes a warmth that makes the film quite literally glow. The varied hues of blue are like the light of the moon has reached our fingertips–we just need to reach out and grab it. Domingo’s speaking voice has always been one of his greatest assets as a performer, and it’s on full display here.
If you have lost a parent, New Moon will feel especially special. Even through animation, we can see the connection between young JJ and Domingo’s storyteller, and the love for mothers and how they find joy when they sacrifice so much is the film’s strength. The next time you find yourself needing to wish for something, go out and see if the moon will listen to your plight. What have you got to lose?