Box of Moonlight

Director: Tom DiCillo

Despite having just three features to his credit so far, Tom DiCillo had already emerged as one of the most important directors of independent American cinema. A former cinematographer for Jim Jarmusch, DiCillo is also a writer and actor for theatre as well as cinema. His new movie Box of Moonlight is a beautiful fable about a search for freedom ad self-renewal in contemporary America. It stars John Turturro as Al Fountain, a highly disciplined family man and electrical engineer who unexpectedly finds himself straying from the straight and narrow path in life.
Working away from home on a job that’s cancelled at short notice, and bothered by feelings of unease (he discovers his first grey hair, and has strange visions of actions seen in reverse motion), Al decides to take time out and revisit a lake he remembers from childhood. He finds the spot, which is now despoiled and polluted. His journey then takes on a new direction. Befriended by the wacky, free-spirited Kid (Sam Rockwell), who wears a Davy Crockett outfit and lives in a bizarre dwelling next to a beautiful lake, Al finds himself in a magical world that’s free of the usual constraints.
Any description of Box of Moonlight is in danger of making it sound like a very slight piece of whimsy. But DiCillo knows exactly what he’s doing and directs with such confident ease that the results are both charming and persuasive. He may be tackling big themes like freedom and self-renewal, but he does so with characteristic good humour and great attention to the quirks of character as developed with his actors. John Turturro’s Al is a typical DiCillo protagonist who has to learn some lessons about human nature. The difference here is that the experience becomes one of rediscovery as he journeys into the past and comes to embrace the sensuality and irresponsibility he discarded in adult life. Nature itself is of crucial importance in the film, from the spectacular vistas captured in the opening sequences to the lakeside idyll that forms the dramatic centre of the film. DiCillo is in the company of the great poets here, as he explores the land of lost content and comes up with the delightful conceit that the magic of moonlight could be stored in a box.

Book Tickets