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New video: ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ is Barry Jenkins’ bold adaptation of James Baldwin’s powerful novel

Writer-director Barry Jenkins follows up his Oscar-winning “Moonlight” with another aesthetically bold literary adaptation, tackling James Baldwin’s 1974 novel. Impressive newcomer KiKi Layne plays Tish Rivers, a young New Yorker whose boyfriend Alonzo (Stephan James) is imprisoned for a rape he didn’t commit, not long after the couple learns they’re about to have a baby. As Tish’s parents (played by Regina King and Colman Domingo) exhaust their savings on a lawyer, Jenkins weaves in flashbacks and set pieces, exploring the visual, aural and emotional textures of early ’70s New York, from the perspective of multiple generations of working-class black residents. Baldwin’s race and class critiques underpin a moving story about how love and perseverance binds families, even when social institutions are determined to scatter them.