Hong Khaou (2014)

15 Certificate


Our Score
A gentle, lyrical drama from British-based writer/director Hong Khaou, Lilting traces the impact of a young man's sudden death on his partner (Ben Whishaw) and widowed mother (famed Chinese actress Cheng Pei Pei). In an attempt to pick up the pieces, the hollow-eyed and fragile Whishaw begins visiting the reserved Cheng, his closest living link with his dead lover, at her care home - though matters are somewhat complicated by the fact that Cheng has no idea her son was gay, and can barely speak a word of English. Even with the help of an interpreter, feelings and best intentions get lost in translation, sometimes giving way to laughter, sometimes tears, with varying degrees of success. Occupying a realm somewhere between life and death, between memory and reality, Khaou's beautifully shot film is so ethereal in tone it occasionally risks evaporating altogether, though it is an undeniably heartfelt exploration of loss.


Premiere. A man in mourning feels a need to see his dead boyfriend's mother, a Chinese woman who speaks no English and did not approve of their relationship. With the aid of an interpreter, the pair gradually form a connection as they come to terms with their grief. Drama, starring Ben Whishaw, Pei-pei Cheng and Morven Christie.

Cast & Crew

Richard Ben Whishaw
Junn Cheng Pei Pei
Kai Andrew Leung
Margaret Morven Christie
Vann Naomi Christie
Alan Peter Bowles
Director Hong Khaou
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Other Information

Language: English, Mandarin +subtitlesColourTheatrical distributor: Artificial EyeGuidance: Swearing.Available on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 8 Aug 2014