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In contemporary London, a Cambodian-Chinese mother mourns the untimely death of her son. Her world is further disrupted by the presence of a stranger. We observe their difficulties in trying to connect with each other without a common language as, through a translator, they begin to piece together memories of a man they both loved. Written by
If you think about it, we're constantly coming out to people; so, really, you should be good at it.
If only she liked you. It'd make this a lot easier, but for some reason she think's you're a dick.
You love this dick.
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Echoes of Wong Kar Wai resonate beautifully throughout this very moving and understated, and yet very funny film. It can be viewed as a study in grief and cross-cultural misunderstanding or even prejudice. Two people try to comes to terms with the death of the person they each love the most. They are on conflicting sides of desperate love triangle. Each seeks recognition, and each needs to place their love in, an unexpected, context. Each needs to be understood.
In many Wong Kar Wai films the actors speak to each other in different languages with seeming full understanding. It suggests a disjuncture between time, place and culture, where language, usually the unifying factor within the narrative, becomes the source of each character's isolation. Lilting is self-conscious in its language play and it works powerfully to both comic and emotional effect. This has the magic effect of bending time. Locations are practically sparse, but the film gives the feeling of having moved us quite literally around the world.
The film demonstrates that with translation, there is always something essential that is lost. This might be cultural sensitivity, the feeling that we understand when, actually, we do not. Thus, it questions the assumptions we all make. It might also be the feeling that we know something or someone when actually we do not.
This may sound a heady, difficult mix. Far from it.
The film is beautifully shot, and again we experience something of the camera work of Christopher Doyle (Wong Kar Wai's leading cinematographer) in the delicate and soft palate of colours, and subtlety of framing which are as evocative as the language play in evoking mood and location. Nothing is wasted in this film. Even landmark pieces of music (another Wong motif) sit perfectly within the cross cultural narrative.
This is a film I will watch again and not simply for the references to Wong Kar Wai, It's a seamless depiction of loss in a world of seeming falling borders.
I hope you enjoy the film as much as I have.
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