It’s just over a month until the 28th London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival opens on March 20th, and now the BFI has announced the movie that will get a gala screening on that first night – the Sundance Award Winner, Lilting.
Hong Khaou’s poetic drama of love and loss will get it’s European premiere at the event. UK based Khaou made his name with the successful gay-themed shorts Spring and Summer, both of which featured in the popular Boys On Film DVD series. Lilting is his first feature film and stars Ben Whishaw, Cheng Pei Pei (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon), Andrew Leung, and Peter Bowles. It picked up a cinematography prize at Sundance.
Khaou commented, “I’m so thrilled Lilting will be opening the LLGFF. It’s a wonderful film festival to kick off our home and European premiere. It feels like a perfect fit to have it in London and at the BFI. I’m thankful Clare and her team have given us such a prestigious slot, it shows a lot of love and faith in Lilting.”
Here’s the synopsis for the movie: ‘Staggering from loss after the recent death of his lover Kai, Richard (Ben Whishaw) reaches out to Kai’s mother Junn (Crouching Tiger’s Cheng Pei Pei), a Chinese-Cambodian woman who has never assimilated or learned English in her 20-something years in London. Kai was Junn’s lifeline to the world; she relied on him for everything, but despite this enforced intimacy, he never came out to her and Junn remains fiercely critical of Richard through a fugue of maternal jealousy and denial.
‘British director Hong Khaou’s film uses a cinematic idiom all of its own, weaving narrative strands from past and present, real and imagined, between mother and son and also between Richard and Kai (a boyishly beautiful Andrew Leung). Lingering, tender scenes of the lovers are dreamily captured by Weekend cinematographer Ula Pontikos (who deservedly nabbed a Sundance award). While serious and moving as a study of loss, Lilting also gracefully incorporates humour and warmth through a subplot in which Junn is wordlessly courted by an elderly Englishman (Peter Bowles), aided by a translator supplied by Richard.
‘A lyrical exploration of the pleasures and pains of communication, produced under the auspices of Film London’s hugely successful Microwave scheme, this is a precious British film to celebrate. It’s also a sophisticated portrait of a gay male relationship that goes beyond the first flushes of love to the heights and bittersweet depths of sharing a life, albeit briefly, with someone you love.’
The full programme of the LLGFF (20th-30th March, 2014) will bee announced on Wednesday 19th February at BFI. Programmers promise a bumper festival with 50 features, as a new VOD strand through the BFI Player, which will offer a collection of contemporary and archive LGBT film available to stream. We’re also promise a previously unseen Derek Jarman work.