On Blue swampy arm, Justin chon tells a story with a message, one that the Southern California-born filmmaker hopes will spur people to act. The mission was an integral part of the film’s development from its earliest stages – so integral, in fact, that it led to Chon starring in the film himself. “I felt very comfortable taking on that role myself and living with him for as long as I needed to talk about it,” says Chon. Vanity fair in his first interview about the film. “There is a purpose behind Blue swampy arm, and I hope the big picture on this is that the right people will listen. Hopefully the conversation doesn’t end after its release. “
Having exploded like a heartbreaker Twilight star before directing acclaimed indies Gook (2017) and Mrs. Purple (2019), Chon reaches new heights behind and in front of the camera with his most urgent project to date: Blue swampy arm, which will premiere in the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival next week. (See an exclusive clip above).
The heartwarming film follows a Baton Rouge (Chon) tattoo artist who, despite living in the US since being adopted from Korea as a young child, faces deportation after an unrelated minor arrest. Chon spent years working on the script, based on true stories he heard from acquaintances, as well as subsequent research that revealed a broader crisis for Asian American adoptees of a certain age. The Child Citizenship Act, which grants citizenship to all children adopted abroad, does not protect anyone who was adopted prior to the enactment of the 2000 law.
As Chon explains, “These people were brought in in the 1970s and 1980s, adopted by American citizens, and they are discovering at 40 or 50 that they are not citizens and are being deported.” He read articles describing how brutally the policy continues to be applied. “I just broke down,” he says. “How you feel at the end of the movie is how I felt reading these articles. It was absolutely destroyed…. I felt it was very important for people in the United States to know what was going on. “
This is the deepest terrain Chon has walked into trouble-driven territory: His previous two films explored sibling dynamics on a more intimate scale, but Blue swampy arm He also marks a step forward in his vision as a director, weaving his artistic strengths into this most compelling story. “I wanted to tell the story of a real person, not a perfect individual,” he says. “This movie represents how America feels and looks.”
Chon focused on background elements to paint that picture: a southern setting that surrounds an Asian-American man when he realizes the alienation he feels from his neighbors, or a strained marriage, with his wife (Alicia vikander) raising her young daughter from a previous marriage while she was several months pregnant. (Vikander, who won an Oscar for The danish girl, has never been better. Chon chose her based on her 2010 screen debut in Pure: “I knew I was more than capable of playing a strong, hard-working southern woman. I thought it would be very dynamic. And she just disappears “).