mon 17/06/2024

DVD: Lilting | reviews, news & interviews

DVD: Lilting

DVD: Lilting

A mother's love meets her gay son's lover in this tough, insightful drama

Deep grief: Pei-Pei Chang, Hong Kong martial arts icon, plays a very different role in 'Lilting'

Oblique and gentle, Lilting is a tender, tough drama about Junn, a Cambodian-Chinese widow played by the legendary Pei-Pei Chang (HK’s martial arts icon known as “Queen of Swords” and recognizable to western audiences from Crouching Tiger...) and her dead son’s lover, Richard (Ben Whishaw), as Junn tries to sort out the untold nature of the men’s relationship.

The opener of the London LGBT Film Festival, Lilting is as sensitive as one would expect, but raucous and ragged when it shows how one gets to the touchy truth. Not only is Junn alone, she is also quite without English (though she can swear a bit – a realistic touch). So when a handsome English man (Peter Bowles, quite fine and sporting a regional accent) comes courting Junn at her nursing home, she’s pleased until the interpreter supplied by Richard allows her to find out too much. An extra wonderful surprise is Naomi Christie as Junn and Richard’s untrained interpreter – without her this touchy and touching tale wouldn’t have the same bite of veracity. Andrew Leung appears, in the film's numerous flashbacks, as the handsome and good son Kai. We hardly know him but, as the deceased beloved, we love him too.

Written and directed by Cambodian-born British Hong Khaou, this drama shows a deft hand, careful in its storytelling as one would expect of dual cultures. But it also embraces the practical nature of both East and West as it maintains a fragility and delicacy. This little gem of insight won the Sundance Film Festival’s World Cinematic Dramatic Competition as well as a cinematography award. Although not packed with surprises, Lilting will have you catching your breath as it touches upon grief and then skates away as if to keep us safe from emotional damage. A portrait of love is what remains, seen by two different people.

The DVD extras include the usual trailer, as well as rather good interviews with cast, a deleted scene and a featurette.

This drama shows a deft hand, careful in its storytelling as one would expect of dual cultures


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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