(2019) 100 mins
Director: Lulu Wang
Writer: Lulu Wang
Cinematography: Anna Franquesa Solano
Production Design: Yong Ok Lee
Music: Alex Weston
In this funny, uplifting tale based on an actual lie, Chinese-born, U.S.-raised Billi (Awkwafina) reluctantly returns to Changchun to find that, although the whole family knows their beloved matriarch, Nai-Nai (Shuzhen Zhao), has been given mere weeks to live, everyone has decided not to tell Nai Nai herself. To assure her happiness, they gather under the joyful guise of an expedited wedding, uniting family members scattered among new homes abroad. As Billi navigates a minefield of family expectations and proprieties, she finds there’s a lot to celebrate: a chance to rediscover the country she left as a child, her grandmother’s wondrous spirit, and the ties that keep on binding even when so much goes unspoken.
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Showings of this film are part of our Cinematheque season which is supported by the British Film Institute.
“In other hands, this material could have been melodramatic and soapy. Instead, there’s an enchanting mingling of comedy and melancholy, in a series of small set-pieces that feel emotionally big . . . The Farewell is truly one of the most pleasant surprises of 2019 so far: a big, warm, lovely hug of a film. And that’s no lie.” Empire
“Despite a plot premise rooted in terminal demise, The Farewell‘s life-before-death drama is leavened with lots of laughs. It’s an upbeat, joyous and life-affirming experience that’s conveyed via a subtitled global melange of Mandarin, English and some Japanese. So, there are language lessons in among the life ones. Thoroughly entertaining, this is a farewell well worth saying hello to.“ Radio Times