It’s almost a cliché to write a thinkpiece about the lack of diversity in the latest set of Oscar nominations. Every year, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences congratulates the best films that English-speaking cis-het white men produced in the preceding year, and also some of the bad ones too. Oh, and they’ll also throw in a meagre handful of films made by women, people of color, etc. The slate of nominees for the upcoming 2020 Academy Awards is exceptionally representative of this feet-dragging approach to representation and inclusivity.
How do you say good-bye to a beloved member of the family? Worse yet, what if they don’t know that their time is short? “The Farewell” (2019) addresses this situation with humor and gentle ruefulness that is never maudlin. Young Billi (Awkwafina) resides in America but stays in close touch with her Chinese grandmother, or Nai Nai (Shuzhen Zhao).
In 2000, we learned that my grandfather had cancer. He went through chemotherapy, and my mother and I went up to help him and get him to doctor’s appointments as he ended up in assisted living. I was there the day he received his terminal diagnosis, and 7 of the next 10 weeks were spent trying to comfort him, and get things prepared for after the inevitable happened. It finally did in late July. I was very close to him- he was like another parent to me. It was devastating. Those months come to the forefront of my mind in contemplating Lulu Wang’s beautiful dramatic comedy, “The Farewell.” Inspired by her own life, Wang tells the story of her family whom, when they find out the worst about their beloved Nai Nai, they do what is unthinkable to most of us- they don’t tell her.
The 2020 Independent Spirit Awards nominations have recently been announced with Roger Eggers "The Lighthouse" and Benny Safdie and Josh Safdie's "Uncut Gems" being nominated for five awards including Best Director. The other big films to receive multiple nominations also include Alma Har’el's "Honey Boy" and Music Box’s comedy “Give Me Liberty”. Out of the... Continue Reading →
It takes true talent to create a film that is both incredibly specific to one culture and somehow universal to all audiences. Luckily, Lulu Wang has this talent as she amply proves in “The Farewell” (2019). Wang wrote and directed this endearing film based partially on her own life and family. It originated as a radio story, “What You Don’t Know,” that was part of an episode of “This American Life.” This year, it came to the big screen and is sure to remain one of the most important films to come out of 2019.