While this year’s Cannes Film Festival brought many exciting films to the forefront, one of the most exciting rests in Justin Chon‘s Blue Bayou. The film tells the story of Antonio (Chon), a Korean-American raised in Louisiana, and his struggles in starting his own family amidst the severe prejudices he faces. Aside from starring, Chon also has written and directed the film, which has hit theaters this weekend.
Blue Bayou looks to tackle several themes, from the life of individuals who are adopted to those who find themselves as outcasts in the United States. As a new featurette shows, Antonio finds himself pulled between these two identities, though his wife Kathy (Alicia Vikander) serves as the glue that keeps life for himself, his step-daughter, and his daughter-to-be together. A looming threat of deportation to Korea forces him to confront these ideas and challenges, a difficult task as he was left behind by his mother at a young age.
According to Chon:
“In ‘Blue Bayou,’ I really wanted to make a film about a Korean-American adoptee, and show a father in the face of adversity, trying to figure out a way to keep his family together. What he’s really fighting for in the film is his family. Even though he’s been so damaged, he’s trying to stay in the United States.”
Chon‘s film marks the contunuing progression of Asian-American stories in modern cinema, with films like Crazy Rich Asians and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings creating other steps along that ladder. However, a film like Blue Bayou is even more refreshing as the story has important relevance to the everyday experiences and pressures several Asian individuals feel throughout this country. Chon himself has also come forward and expressed his ability to tell more intimate and personal stories, as opposed to the more VFX-laden (though also relevant and recognized) works of directors like James Wan, Justin Lin, and Jon M. Chu.
The plot for Blue Bayou is as follows:
“An official selection of the 2021 Cannes Film Festival from award-winning writer/director Justin Chon, “Blue Bayou” is the moving and timely story of a uniquely American family fighting for their future. Antonio LeBlanc (Chon), a Korean adoptee raised in a small town in the Louisiana bayou, is married to the love of his life Kathy (Alicia Vikander) and step-dad to their beloved daughter Jessie. Struggling to make a better life for his family, he must confront the ghosts of his past when he discovers that he could be deported from the only country he has ever called home.”
Blue Bayou is currently available in theaters. Check out the film’s featurette below: