Run Time: 86 Minutes
The sudden death of a young London man named Kai leaves his headstrong Chinese-Cambodian mother, Junn (PEI-PEI CHENG), and his boyfriend, Richard (BEN WHISHAW), each in a personal and profound state of grief.
The sudden death of a young London man named Kai leaves his headstrong Chinese-Cambodian mother, Junn (PEI-PEI CHENG), and his boyfriend, Richard (BEN WHISHAW), each in a personal and profound state of grief. Feeling a strong sense of responsibility toward Kai’s only family member, Richard reaches out to Junn, who has been biding time in an assisted-living home. Though Junn speaks little English, her dislike of Richard is plain, and she meets him with stony resistance. Since they share no common language, Richard hires a translator to facilitate communication, and the two improbable relatives attempt to reach across a chasm of misunderstanding and distrust through their memories of Kai.
Writer/director Hong Khaou’s intimate debut feature film dances between the real and imaginary to express the unspeakable loss that both characters experience. LILTING is an intimate and thoughtful film about what it is like to live in a world where you have no grasp of the language, forming relationships without a common language, and how difficult it can be, but how necessary it is, to overcome cultural and generational barriers. Quiet and spare, the film boasts delicate performances by the two leads, who sustain a palpable sense of discomfort when in each other’s presence onscreen. LILTING is a perceptive meditation on memory and grief, difficulties in communication, the path to connection between two human souls, and ultimately reveals that what initially separates us can also end up binding us together.