The Farewell (image 1)

[The] dramas and themes that emerge during the reunion… become, like a family, more than the sum of its individual parts, and an incredibly satisfying meal of a film.

Emily Yoshida, Vulture

The Farewell 2019

Directed by Lulu Wang Big Nights

Deft and deeply felt, with a star-making turn from Awkwafina, Lulu Wang’s widely praised drama tells the story of a Chinese American family paying their last respects to a mother and grandmother who doesn’t know she’s dying.

Jul 26

Penthouse Cinema

Jul 28
Selling Fast

Embassy Theatre

China / USA In English and Mandarin with English subtitles
100 minutes DCP
PG
adult themes

Director/Screenplay

Producers

Daniele Melia
,
Peter Saraf
,
Marc Turtletaub
,
Andrew Miano
,
Chris Weitz
,
Jane Zheng
,
Lulu Wang
,
Anita Gou

Photography

Anna Franquesa Solano

Editors

Michael Taylor
,
Matthew Friedman

Production designer

Yong Ok Lee

Costume designer

Athena Wang

Music

Alex Weston

With

Awkwafina (Billie)
,
Tzi Ma (Haiyan)
,
Diana Lin (Jian)
,
Zhao Shuzhen (Nai Nai)
,
Lu Hong (little Nai Nai)
,
Jiang Yongbo (Haibin)

Festivals

Sundance
,
San Francisco 2019

Elsewhere

Proudly Sponsored By

Metro

Elevating Asian American cinema to new heights, director Lulu Wang’s beautiful portrait of a Chinese family’s gathering to farewell its ailing matriarch frames an immigrant experience that’s deeply relatable, not least for Asian diaspora communities, but also any persons scattered to different parts of the globe, away from their roots or loved ones. Joining us for these limited screenings comes with an advisory: bring tissues, because there will be tears.

The Farewell begins with struggling New York artist Billi (Awkwafina, the crazy best friend in Crazy Rich Asians) learning the news that her beloved Nai Nai (grandma) is dying of cancer. In China, Nai Nai’s loyal sister withholds the diagnosis, letting Nai Nai think she has a clean bill of health. Relatives from Japan and the USA fly home under the pretence of a wedding – surrounded by her entire clan, there’s no happier occasion for Nai Nai – and while pretending to celebrate must bear the burden of sadness so she can live her last days in blissful ignorance.

Eschewing broad stereotypes for a nuanced everydayness, Wang’s film is of course sad, but also warm, perfectly strange (the absurdity and illegality of the ruse does not go unnoticed), rich with delicious food, and naturally funny in situations that, as a normal response to death, demand it. The wonderful ensemble cast, particularly Billi’s parents played by veterans Tzi Ma and Diana Lin, subtly agitate and support Awkwafina’s breakthrough central performance; her face and body language a marvel of whole emotions fighting against quiet, dutiful restraint. — Tim Wong

The Farewell’s plot is based on writer-director Lulu Wang’s own stranger-than-fiction true family story, which was previously featured in a 2016 episode of NPR’s This American Life. But no podcast can prepare anyone for the sophistication of Wang’s filmmaking instincts, exploring themes of transnational families and assumptions of culture shock, especially from Billi’s parents… who call her ‘too American’ to understand this situation. Billi’s journey to return back to the homeland that doesn’t feel quite like home is the fundamental theme of The Farewell. It’s a melancholy that Wang and Awkwafina capture with the perfect cadence.” — Anderson Le, Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival

“The critical darling [of Sundance] was clearly Lulu Wang’s poignant and personal story of a young lady… dealing with the imminent death of her grandmother... Critics were comparing it to masterful filmmakers like Ang Lee, Edward Yang, and even Ozu Yasujiro in the way it blends cultural specificity with universal emotions. It was also [the] ‘ugly cry’ of the [festival], but it earns that title by never once feeling manipulative or melodramatic. It’s a true empathy machine of a movie, a film that tells a very specific story that’s not your own but allows you to see yourself within it.” — Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com