LILTING, the first full-length film (after five short ones) from Cambodian-born writer/director Hong Khaou. So does music, movement, and especially the manner in which the film's most special character -- a young man named Kai -- weaves in and out of the story. So Lilting is indeed a lovely and appropriate name for both this movie and its "action," so to speak. In the very first scene, a mother gets a visit from her dear son, and as they chat and laugh and spar with each other, we get a wonderful sense of the strong bond of love that joins them. Then a third party enter the room -- and everything changes.
Ben Whishaw, two photos up and on poster, center, top) and Junn (Pei-pei Cheng, just above) are brought together by the accidental death of her son (who was also Richard's lover), neither can communicate with the other. So Richard hires a lovely young woman named Vann (Naomi Christie, below) to translate -- both for the conversations between Richard and Junn, and between Junn and Alan (Peter Bowles), the older man she has become somewhat entangled with in the senior residence where they both live. (The film takes place in Great Britain.)
Andrew Leung as Kai (above, left, with Whishaw, and below, right, with Cheng), who pretty much steals the movie. With his gorgeous face and graceful body, he lilts through the proceedings with an unassuming gravity, wit and beauty that binds the film. He, of course, is the one character here who's not alive, and yet his liveliness, together with the place he occupies in the hearts of our two protagonists, transcends everything.