'Blue Bayou' Trailer: Justin Chon's Latest Film Promises to be Both Intimate and Timely

Award-winning filmmaker Justin Chon gave audiences all the feels at Cannes with his latest film, Blue Bayou. Set against the rugged backdrop of southern Louisiana, Blue Bayou chronicles one family’s desperate attempt to stay together despite harsh immigration policies threatening to tear them apart.

Have a tissue ready for the official Blue Bayou trailer below.

Blue Bayou Trailer

This story looks precious and heartbreaking. As an unfortunate cynic, I actually do enjoy drama films about familial love. Even though I consider Poltergeist to fall under this category, there is clearly a timely relevance and seriousness with Blue Bayou. I also love how layered Cho’s character is and how the film seems to explore Asian American identity. “Where are you really from” is an often uncomfortable and ignorant question that many people experience in our melting pot of a country so it’s nice to see that written into the script.

Focus Features describes Blue Bayou as “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 (Sydney Kowalske). 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.”

The cinematography is also noteworthy because of how sunshine and shadows are all captured. The approach makes the scenes simultaneously weathered but hopeful. Cinematographers Ante Cheng and Matthew Chuang‘s use of lighting capture a notion of hard work, grit, sweat, and dirt in a lot of these scenes. This style also compliments Linda Ronstadt‘s song “Blue Bayou,” which is where the film gets its title. With lyrics like “Saving nickels, saving dimes, Working ’til the sun don’t shine, Looking forward to happier times on Blue Bayou,” it seems like an apt choice.

Building Borders and Breaking Hearts

Immigrant stories are American stories. Over the past few years, there have been some films that challenge the notion of what it means to be American and have sparked conversations that should respectfully continue. Director Lee Isaac Chung’s Oscar-winning film Minari is a prime example of what constitutes an American story, or an American film. Justin Chon tackles these themes in his films like critically acclaimed films like GookMs. Purple, and now Blue Bayou.

There is an assortment of films that center around immigration, even in animated form with the lovable Paddington. There are also several films that depict what the American Dream looks like as well as stories of American families. However, Blue Bayou seems to potentially stand out because it is a feature film that specifically mentions ICE and the immigration reform that has devastated so many American families. In addition to examining American identity and culture, it appears as though Chon’s latest film is a heartfelt effort to portray a problematic and divisive topic through an empathetic lens.

Blue Bayou will be released only in theaters on September 17th, 2021

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