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The Farewell

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Thomas Pineda
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The Farewell

This film is a touching look at how families from Eastern v. Western cultures approach issues such as death and responsibility. A quick synopsis, Awkwafina and her family in America find out their grandmother in China is sick with cancer. In order for her to live her best life, they collectively decide not to tell the grandmother about her terminal cancer and plan a wedding as an excuse to visit and spend time with her before her passing. Throughout the film, there are various comparisons of Western vs. Eastern culture, collectivist solutions as opposed to individualist approaches. 

 

  In my classes, many students are immigrants or have grown up in different countries. One scene I may choose to focus on in class would be Awkwafina’s experience when she first arrives at the hotel in China. She is interrogated by a hotel clerk who wants to know all about her experience being a Chinese American compared to his native Chinese experience, while she comedically tries to usher him out of the room.  For those students who are recent immigrants, they could write personal narrative stories that would reflect the experience of Awkwafina of what it would be like to explain differences in their present culture in the US to those family or friends in their home country. Other students who have been native to the US or have never had an experience leaving the country could write narratives around things they noticed from the movie that was different in Chinese culture. They could come up with a list of questions they would interview someone with and explain what their home culture would do in those situations they asked about.