wisdom in chaos

‘Moonlight’ director’s first short film reminds us to focus our energy in uncertain times

Getty Images for A24

In Toni Morrison’s essay “No Place for Self-Pity, No Room for Fear” written last year for The Nation, the Nobel Peace prize winner and critically-acclaimed author urged for the importance of artists to continue to create in times of dread and turmoil. “I know the world is bruised and bleeding, and though it is important not to ignore its pain, it is also critical to refuse to succumb to its malevolence,” she wrote. “Like failure, chaos contains information that can lead to knowledge—even wisdom. Like art.”

Director Barry Jenkins, whose Moonlight is a stunning masterpiece, tweeted about his first short film My Josephine, which was made in the uncertain times after 9/11. He said it was “a reminder to myself to channel this energy, to create.”

In My Josephine, Arab-speaking immigrants Aadid and Josephine work in a laundromat and dry cleaners, and after 9/11 they clean American flags for free. The short, haunting film is more about watching the characters live, rather than making a grand gesture about America.

Watch My Josephine below.