‘Monsoon’ is a slow paced investigation of culture and heritage

Henry Golding, best known for his roles in Crazy Rich Asians and Last Christmas, stars in this emotional drama from Cambodian born British director Hong Khou. Like the central character in his film Khou moved to the United Kingdom as a political refugee when he was a child. .

In Monsoon, Kit (Henry Golding) arrives in Vietnam ahead of his older brother to search out a meaningful place to scatter their parents’ ashes. It’s a country Kit last knew as a six-year-old boy when his family fled to England as ‘boat refugees’ in the turbulent aftermath of the American-Vietnam war.

He barely recognises Ho Chi Minh City now and grapples with a growing sense of cultural dislocation made all the worse by the fact that he has forgotten how to speak the language. Whilst exploring his old neighbourhood he visits his estranged second cousin, Lee, who helps him piece together the hazy memories of his fractured childhood.

Kit arranges an on-line date with Lewis (Parker Sawyers), a handsome and sensitive African American clothes designer whose father fought in the American-Vietnam war. Despite some initial tension over their parents’ opposing roles in the conflict, a romance sparks between them and Lewis introduces Kit to the more vibrant and contemporary parts of the city.

Kit also meets Linh (Molly Harris), a young Vietnamese student who embodies the spirit of a new generation, carving out an identity in modern Vietnam despite feeling constrained by her family’s traditional values and their expectations of her.

As he travels through the country learning more about his family’s past, he also begins to consider his own future.

Monsoon is a slowly paced film that gradually reveals more about it’s characters, and the clash between their different cultures, and the past, present and the future. It highlights the challenges faced by first generation immigrants, especially when their sexuality does not meet the hopes and dreams their parent’s held.

Monsoon is now screening at Luna Cinemas, take a look at the trailer. 

Graeme Watson 

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