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The Farewell

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Ivonne Camacho
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Ivonne Camacho's picture
The Farewell
The push and pull between the bonds of blood and the ties of culture are explored with a light touch and a perceptive eye for detail in this Chinese American film, semi-autobiographical family drama from Chinese writer and director Lulu Wang. I think this film is a great way to start a conversation between the cultural differences between Chinese and Americans, how open and direct each differs when it comes to show own's emotions and important issues such a terminal illness in a famiy member, especially a granmother. Chinese people respect and appresiate elderly in a different way than Americans. How Chinese are more family orientated than Americans. Also, a great started conversation for Chinese Americans when they travel to China to visit family members, they also experienced a cultural shock even if their heritage is Chinese, a different perpective from Chinese born youngsters.  A must see for anyone interested in learning about Chinese and family bond. 


Brigid Schmidt
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The Farewell

I have heard of this film and have been thinking abut watching it. After reading your review, I will! As an English teacher, I am always trying to help my students express emotions through their writing and story telling. We talk a lot about the differences in cultures and there might be clips from this film that could help the students see other perspectives. Maybe they could compare and contrast how their family interacts with how the family in film relates to one another? 

Jonathan Tam
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The Farewell Review

The Farewell is directed by Beijing director, Lulu Wang, and tells the story of a wedding to take place as an effort for family members to see the grandmother of the family one last time. The film’s stars are both Chinese-American and Chinese actors and the film is by far one of the most empathetic looks at Chinese values compared to any other film I have watched. The distinction between Western and Eastern values meets its battlefront in how we deal with death. Whereas western values emphasize the importance of seeing your life as something distinct among your family members (in terms of life, love, career, etc.), the film portrays an eastern perspective which is that you are part of something far greater. It’s expressed in how the family interacts with one another, talks to one another, and lastly confronts the issue of telling the grandmother she has cancer.

Where films in the past have very distinctly portrayed Asian characters as villainous and emotionless, this film confronts why that is and perhaps how underneath our values, there are more common threads between us than we think. The film ends incredibly beautifully, has moments of incredible hilarity (such as the constant conversation between whether China or the US is better), and is a great gateway into enjoying other films with these actors and themes.