Archive of films Lilting / Lilting

United Kingdom
2014, 86 min

Section: Another View
Year: 2014

The visually arresting Lilting follows Chinese-Cambodian Junn (Pei-pei Cheng) – Kai’s mother, and Richard (Ben Whishaw) – Kai’s unavouched life partner, as they struggle to come to grips with a tragic event. The talented debut director sensitively captures the distinct stages of grief and mourning, as well as the characters’ spiritual confusion.


Set in contemporary London, the visually arresting Lilting is an intimate and subdued drama that focuses on two main characters: Kai’s mother Junn, of Chinese-Cambodian origin, who lives in a retirement home, and Richard, Kai’s unavouched life partner. The pair are struggling to come to terms with a tragic event that has left them utterly bereft – Kai’s death. The talented debut director has deftly captured in sensitive fashion the distinct stages of grief and mourning, as well as the characters’ spiritual confusion. Realistic sequences alternate with more dreamlike passages that clarify the characters’ relationship to Kai, and the nonlinear narrative results in a mosaic of stories told almost without words. The director places great store on the authentic performances from Ben Whishaw and legendary Chinese actress Pei-pei Cheng, who capture even the most inner emotions and motivations with mere facial expressions. The film screened to rave reviews in the international competition at this year’s Sundance.

About the director

Hong Khaou

Hong Khaou (b. 1975, Phnom Penh, Cambodia) worked for seven years for the independent distribution company Peccadillo Pictures, regularly attending film festivals and markets as a member of the acquisition team. He also attended numerous programs for writers organized by The Royal Court, Polka Theatre, Dende Collective, and Yellow Earth Theatre. He has written and directed two shorts: Summer, screened in 2006 at the Berlinale, and Spring, presented at the Sundance and Berlin IFFs in 2011. In 2013 the director was named one of Screen International’s "Stars of Tomorrow.” Lilting is Khaou’s feature debut.


Protagonist Pictures
48-48 Great Portland Stcy, W1W 7NB, London
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 207 734 9000
E-mail: [email protected]

About the film

Color, DCP

Section: Another View
Director: Hong Khaou
Screenplay: Hong Khaou
Dir. of Photography: Ula Pontikos
Music: Stuart Earl
Editor: Mark Towns
Producer: Dominic Buchanan
Production: Film London, Microwave Film
Coproduction: BBC Films, Stink Films, Sums Film & Media
Cast: Ben Whishaw, Pei-pei Cheng, Andrew Leung, Morven Christie, Naomi Christie
Contact: Protagonist Pictures

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