As a movie based on homosexuality I was looking forward to a revolutionary film about the struggles a mixed-race, homosexual couple face in modern society, especially when it is based around coming out to parents. Going into this film, I thought that I would be witnessing something very moving, which would inspire viewers not to be afraid. Instead, it was anti-climactic and slightly disappointing.
Lilting is a film which is based largely upon the death of a man named Kai, son of Junn and boyfriend of Richard. Kai’s death is a turning point for Richard, and on the day of his death Kai was supposed to come out to his mother. Richard befriended Junn and hired a translator to help with their communication, and the rest of the film was a waiting game. It was clear to viewers that Richard had wanted to Kai to come out from the beginning, but for some reason Kai was afraid to tell his mother because he knew that she did not appreciate Richard. Junn is a very strong woman, however she tends to struggle with cultural appropriation. She has a difficult time adapting to the elements of an English country after coming from somewhere so different. This is a large aspect to her character, as it often causes her to become frustrated at the lack of communication she is able to have with others. At the beginning she is made to seem as a very binary thinking woman, which causes viewers to believe that is the reason why Kai cannot bring himself to tell her the truth about Richard. This is where the film could be considered moving. Junn was unaware of who Richard was when he befriended her, and throughout the movie, we see Richard and Junn develop a solid friendship, where each respect each other equally. This is an interesting aspect of the film because it shows that homosexuals are not lesser than heterosexuals just because they are attracted to the same gender. By taking away the aspect of sexuality, viewers were able to see a deeper connection between two strangers which should never be altered based on an individual’s personal preferences. When Richard finally told Junn about his relationship with her son, her reaction was very calm, however left me, as a viewer, very unsure of whether or not she was okay with the news she was given. The scene was somewhat complicated and unclear and could have been more direct.
Although there is not much focus on Kai in particular, viewers could potentially feel more empathy towards him as his character is a clear form of intersectionality, given that he is both an Asian homosexual man. Both Asian’s and homosexual tend to be looked down upon by parts of society, and this therefore gives his character more of a depth and sympathetic vibe than others. As a viewer it would have been nice to be able to see the ways in which Kai’s mother reacted to his coming out.
However, there is not all bad to say about the movie. The synthesis of emotion and intersectional in this film come together to create something that is moving. It gives viewers a sense of reality, and that there is more to life than the material things. It is also a very moving look into what life is like after the loss of a loved one, and the ways social construction affect different groups of people. In a scene with Junn and her English lover Richard, it is clear how little effort her nursing home puts in towards ensuring her happiness, as there is no one around who speaks the same language as her to help them communicate. Richard has to hire his own translator so she can communicate easier in order to help her enjoy her time in England more. Overall, I believe that although this film was slow and lacking detail and inspiration, it was still very well done and proved to readers that there is still a lot of work to be done in regards to the acceptance of all types of people within society.
The experience I had at the film festival was something that I have never experienced before. Never could I have imagined being surrounded by so many people who were obviously so accepting and understanding of otherwise controversial topics. The audience was a certain crowd that one does not experience every day. The festival was definitely something that I would consider attending again.