Justin Chon’s Encounters with Racism in Hollywood Led Him to Make Indies Like ‘Blue Bayou’

Justin Chon’s Southern-set immigration drama “Blue Bayou” has the raw feel of a ’70s movie — a freewheeling 16mm camera, intimately scaled, in-your-face human drama a la John Cassevetes — but it’s a film that could likely only be made now.

That’s even in spite of the film’s exploration of longstanding, trenchant issues of immigration and deportation in the United States.Korean-American filmmaker Chon writes and directs himself as Antonio LeBlanc, a tattoo artist and father living in the Louisiana bayou with his wife, Kathy (Alicia Vikander), and her small daughter, Jessie (Sydney Kowalske).

Kathy has another baby on the way.

Despite being an adoptee from Korea, Antonio is as American a citizen as anyone, as he’s now lived in the U.S.

for 30 years.

But after a misunderstanding with police turns brutal, he ends up in jail, and ultimately in the bureaucratic hands of Ice.


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