The Immigrant Experience (Film Thoughts: Futur Drei/Moonson)

The immigrant experience already brings out complex emotions and I recently chanced upon two films about it. But, the great thing about these two films is that it doesn’t show the American immigrant experience.

Futur Drei/No Hard Feelings, for example, is about Parvis, an Iranian-German gay man. His family moved to Germany, so in a sense he is more German (there is a running joke wherein he speaks Iranian with a German accent) but he certainly has very close ties to his roots. He spends his days and nights just like any other gay German youth – Grindr, clubbing. But things change when he meets Amon while working at the Iranian refugee center.

The film becomes a sort-of love story between the two. I like the fact that the film doesn’t go straight melodrama when it could have – we see scenes of the two of them having fun, when the situation is dire. We see Parvis’s parents supportive of his sexual orientation, which I think is atypical of Iranian families. When the film takes a serious turn towards the end, you feel the shift in tone, and it highlights how you are affected. This film won the Teddy at Berlinale this year, and is slowly making its way via the digital platforms.

Henry Golding was a Crazy Rich Asian, and in ‘Moonsoon,’ he is a gay British guy who goes back to Vietnam after his mother dies. I was very interested in seeing this film after I found out it was directed by Hong Khaou, whose earlier film ‘Lilting’ I loved. And it is nice to see Gokding tackle this kind of role, which is a brave choice considering he could have gone anywhere after his hit film.

‘Monsoon,’ though suffers a bit from its indie credentials. The story is a bit unfocused, though we get that general sense of a man trying to go back home, and realizing he does not know this ‘home.’ His family fled to England after the reunification, and when he sees his cousin whose family got left behind, we see him realize what could have been. Still, the film is a great effort, and I was especially touched by Golding’s performance.

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