Directed by Hong
From 8th August 2014
This is a low budget but generally high quality movie about relationships
and communication or rather the lack of it.
A better title for the film would have been Lost In Translation but that
has been used before.
Junn (Cheng Pei-Pei) is an elderly Cambodian-Chinese who had been placed
in a care home by her son Kai (Andrew Leung), who has since died. Following
this tragedy his lover Richard (Ben Whishaw) wants to establish a friendship
with Junn, as a means to continue his connection with his deceased partner.
She had previously had little regard for him and did not realise that
her son was gay.
A big obstacle in achieving this was her inability to speak any coherent
English and his inability to speak any of the six languages she can speak!
To overcome this problem Richard hires a translator Vann (Naomi Christie).
But the constant use of Vann translating Junn's responses to Richard's
questions becomes a bit tiresome. Director Hong Khaou sometimes overcomes
this annoying trait by using subtitles.
Junn is the star performer (she played the villain in Ang Lee's Crouching
Tiger, Hidden Dragon), not with her verbal utterances but with her facial
expressions and eye contact. She is not someone to mess around with.
Arresting camerawork is created by cinematographer Ula Pontikos, particularly
the skilled use of time frames, with flashbacks of Kai's relationship
with Richard. Also noteworthy are her shots of blank skies and windswept
trees, symbolising the emptiness inherent in Junn and Richard's lives.
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