Harlan Jacobson’s Talk Cinema
Directed by Lulu Wang
$12 / $10 Speed members / Free for Speed Cinephiles
“Funny, moving, and sensitively wrought dramedy based on a real-life episode from the writer-director’s own family history”—Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times
In this comical, uplifting tale based on a lie, Chinese-born, US-raised Billi (Awkwafina, the scene stealer from Crazy Rich Asians) reluctantly returns to Changchun to find that, although the whole family knows their beloved matriarch, Nai-Nai, has been given mere weeks to live, everyone has decided not to tell Nai Nai. To assure the grandmother’s happiness, the family gathers under the joyful guise of an expedited wedding, helping to unite 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.
With The Farewell, writer/director Lulu Wang create a heartfelt celebration of both the way we perform family and the way we live it, masterfully interweaving a gently humorous depiction of the good lie in action with a richly moving story of how family can unite and strengthen us, often in spite of ourselves. The film was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and was the opening night selection for the BAM Cinema Fest. 2019, U.S., DCP, in English and Mandarin with English subtitles, 98 minutes. Rated PG.
Talk Cinema is programmed by the venerable film critics and film curators Harlan and Susan Jacobson, featuring a sneak preview screening of an art house film prior to its release followed by discussion.