the farewell trailer chinese subtitles – The Farewell At The Lyric

The film sheds light on the differences between Eastern and Western philosophies of life, particularly in the way that family members interact – but, more than that, it truly enhances understanding of Chinese life, beliefs, and traditions.

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The FarewellIn this funny, uplifting tale based on an actual lie, Chinese-born, U.S.-raised Billi (Awkwafina, 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 herself. Capitulating to Chinese demands on the one hand and uncompromising resistance on the other aren’t the only options for engagement. Cooperation can come with principled conditions and, if compromises must be made, then at least their existence and the attendant costs and benefits can be acknowledged explicitly. Only if both sides of the calculus are transparent is it possible to assess a decision to engage with China.

Perhaps because she’s so intimately familiar with the paradoxes at play, Wang balances the alternately madcap and melancholy contours of The Farewell” with admirable assurance, channeling her own obvious ambivalence through Billi’s sometimes affecting, often hilarious mixed feelings.

One of the things that makes The Farewell so winning is that Billi’s belief system, which often mirrors our own, is challenged along the way. She begins to understand why the family doesn’t tell Nai Nai about her illness—they are shouldering the burden of grief and fear for her. And she also learns that there’s more to her mother than meets the eye.

Billi’s father, Haiyan (the sly, reliable Tzi Ma), and mother, Jian (Diana Lin), are flying to Changchun to bid farewell to his mother but they urge Billi to stay home — she can’t hide her emotions, she’d cry, she’d give the game away. She’s become too American, in other words, which only makes her hop on a plane determined to visit this beloved anchor of her family and rediscover her place in the clan.

The film follows a Chinese family who, when they discover their beloved Grandmother has only a short while left to live, decide to keep her in the dark and schedule an impromptu wedding to gather before she passes. Billi, feeling like a fish out of water in her home country, struggles with the family’s decision to hide the truth from her grandmother.

Oh, yeah. It was a full-body experience. It’s a unique experience, to leave America and go to where you are from.” Your whole life, you’re being told that you don’t belong here in America. Then you go there to China and really realize that you don’t belong there. But then you think about how this is your history too, and you can’t forget that part about yourself. That’s what happened to me.

That’s such an American perspective, that a protagonist has a goal, and you spend the entirety of the movie watching them get to their goal. And that’s what I was playing against. And yet at the same time, I had to make sure there was enough tension to move the story forward. And so seeing her audition, seeing the emotions on her face when she was just listening, she was responding by not speaking. It was really important that we could get a lot of the nuances of what she was feeling just by her eyes and her face.

When Billi and her parents arrive in China, their middle-class heritage is always present, often without being remarked upon. It’s a fact of life. Nai Nai’s perfectly respectable apartment is cluttered and colored with slightly dingy pastels. When Billi checks into a nearby hotel, it’s the equivalent of a Ramada Inn. Only at the wedding, where Nai Nai wants to make an impression, do things brighten to reflect the pursuit of elegance. Of course, that wedding is still nothing like the one in Crazy Rich Asians;” it’s a wedding befitting Crazy Middle-Class Asians,” the title Wang said she jokingly applies to her film.

A lot of particulars in The Farewell” are specific to Chinese culture, but they also resonate for American audiences accustomed to the ways money hovers on the periphery of everything. Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig’s award-winning 2017 coming-of-age charmer , positioned class in a similar way. It’s a movie about teenage rites, but class issues are at play in everything the titular character (Saoirse Ronan) experiences. When Lady Bird, a high school senior desperate to leave her native Sacramento behind, asks her overworked mother, Marion (Laurie Metcalf), to buy a $3 bridal magazine at the grocery store so she can read it in bed, Marion responds, That’s something rich people do. We are not rich people.” Later, when Lady Bird is upset over the way a boy (Timothée Chamalet) treated her, Marion suggests they embark on their favorite Sunday activity,” which means attending open houses for McMansions they can only fantasize about affording.


While The Farewell announces Wang and Zhao’s talent, its other stunning revelation is Awkwafina. Born Nora Lum, the actress, comedian, TV host and rapper famous for her song “My Vag,” is completely authentic as Billi, whose heart you can feel beating achingly through her strained attempts to keep smiling.

For our 2019 summer benefit, the LA independent film community came together to celebrate Lulu Wang and her film The Farewell, a hilarious, heartwarming story based on an actual lie.” During the evening, we honored Wang with the Sundance Institute Vanguard Award presented by Acura, hosted an exclusive screening of the film, and celebrated with a Sundance-style after-party—all at downtown LA’s gorgeous Theatre at Ace Hotel.

What would a cinematically literate portrayal of the Asian-American condition look like? Luckily, we don’t have to imagine, because one already exists. Wayne Wang’s low-budget indie Chan Is Missing (1982) concerns the attempts of two Chinese Americans, a cab driver named Jo and his nephew Steve, to track down their friend Chan, who has disappeared with a bundle of their money. Their voyage into the nooks and crannies of Chinatown soon takes on an existential overtone, as the object of their investigation gradually shifts from their missing money to the essence of the man who took it. It turns out that Chan, like The Farewell’s Billi, found himself caught between the push and pull of assimilation and cultural fidelity. The multifarious portraits of the man that emerge—radical political activist, bookish computer technician, unassimilable Chinese national—reflect the fragmentation, and ultimately the illusory nature, of the Chinese-American” identity itself.

Finding the right actress to play Billi was also crucial. Wang was initially sceptical when her casting director suggested Awkwafina — at the time known mostly for her music career but soon to impress in scene-stealing roles in Ocean’s 8 and Crazy Rich Asians.


GROSS: You told your story as a personal essay. You told it as a fictionalized version in a film. What’s the difference between telling – I mean, there are many differences. But tell us some of the most interesting differences for you in making this into a “This American Life”-length personal essay versus a feature film.

The Farewell

The biggest gulf between a Chinese version of a story about a dying grandmother and an American one is that Nai Nai is unaware — or at least seems unaware — of the severity of her condition. With no laws to compel doctors to communicate directly with patients, they share bad news with the family, leaving it up to them to decide how much to convey. Maybe Nai Nai secretly knows what’s up, and is just playing along, gobbling down what she says are “vitamins,” not cancer-fighting drugs. Or maybe there really is something to the old saying that, “It isn’t the cancer that kills, it’s the fear.” So long as Nai Nai’s blissfully unaware, she’ll at least die happy.

In this funny, heartfelt story, Billi’s (Awkwafina) family returns to China under the guise of a fake wedding to stealthily say goodbye to their beloved matriarch, the only person that doesn’t know she only has a few weeks to live.

Chinese people have a saying: When people get cancer, they die.” These are the words of wisdom imparted to Brooklyn twentysomething Billi (Awkwafina) by her mother while delivering the news of her beloved grandma Nai Nai’s lung cancer diagnosis. They’re clearly little comfort, but also prove to be anything but reliable in the turn of events that follows.

Billi is bothered by the secrecy, both because it seems unethical to withhold information from a patient and because it means that she must counterfeit her own feelings, suppressing her grief in favor of forced joy. Wang turns her frustration and bewilderment into a gentle exploration of the cultural differences and generational schisms that have, over the years, opened up within Nai Nai’s extended family.

They knew she didn’t know, and we weren’t planning on telling her. Even if it’s hard for them in some ways, nobody’s walking up to her like, So, you got cancer, right?” Even in American society, there are so many things we don’t talk about, because you don’t want to make other people feel bad or uncomfortable. You just try to talk about happier things, and make their day a little easier. So that part of it wasn’t that challenging.


Alternating between situational melancholy and wryly comedic observations, Wang’s script spends plenty of time weighing the ethics of the family’s collective deception, but never overtly questions whether Nai Nai knows quite how sick she is. And yet, having done the same thing to her late husband (she now shares her home with an elderly man, Mr. Li, who keeps his distance during the family’s visit), there’s a high likelihood that the lie” in question is more a case of willful ignorance — the way spouses might overlook clues of their partner’s infidelities, or old friends tactfully forget to mention the work” you’ve had done. For all involved, the sham wedding ceremony serves to deflect from the depressing situation at hand while giving everyone the kind of closure they need — including Nai Nai, who interrupts an otherwise serious hospital visit to try matchmaking between Billi and her bilingual young doctor.

In other hands, this material could have been melodramatic and soapy. Instead, there’s an enchanting mingling of comedy and melancholy, in a series of small set-pieces that feel emotionally big. In one delightful sequence, the family visit the grandfather’s gravesite for prayer and offerings (Don’t give him cigarettes — he quit!” somebody snaps). In another, Billi and Nai Nai converse as photos of the groom and bride are taken behind them, hilarious bits of business happening in the background. Wang brings her experience to bear in the specificities of small moments, like the frenzy of Chinese taxi drivers vying for business at the airport, or the murals of nature that appear throughout the movie — themselves, in a way, little white lies.

Wang’s script, drawn from real camcorder tapes of her own trip to China, captures an authenticity that brushes with the profoundly elegant. Nainai explains she still wants to live with her bumbling husband because he’s a “live body.” It means when she sees shadows, at least they’re not all her own.

Wang’s stand-in in the movie is Billi, the granddaughter, who arrives in Changchun along with the extended clan, preparing to say farewell to their adored matriarch. To conceal the real purpose of their visit, they stage an elaborate wedding. We see Billi pushing back at what she sees as her family’s misguided decision to lie to Nai Nai. In the United States, Billi argues, it would be unconscionable to keep a diagnosis from someone; it might even be illegal, she says to her dad. But in China, a relative tells her, it’s the family’s job to carry such a burden. Billi isn’t satisfied with that answer. What if she wants to say goodbye? she asks.

Billi’s parents (played by the excellent Diana Lin and Tzi Ma) assure her she doesn’t need to make the trip — that she’s too American and emotionally transparent, and won’t be able to keep up the familywide ruse. But we’ve already seen Billi on the phone with her grandmother, and we know they have a bond, if a somewhat abstract, long-distance one. With her professional prospects in New York faltering, she makes the trip back to the town she spent her early childhood in.

The new film “The Farewell” tells the story of a family coping with the news their grandmother has terminal cancer. They decide not to tell her and stage a wedding in China as an excuse to visit her and say goodbye. The movie was the breakout hit of the Sundance Film Festival this year, earning its writer-director, Lulu Wang, the festival’s Vanguard Award.

GROSS: In real life, just as is in the film, Wang, her parents, uncle and cousin head to China to see her grandmother, knowing they may never see her again. But they keep up the pretext that it’s a visit to celebrate the cousin’s wedding. And, of course, things get more complicated than expected. While Wang was trying to get this film made, after getting rejected by producers in the U.S. and China, she told the story in the form of a personal essay on This American Life. That broadcast led producers who were interested in her story to reach out and help her make the film.

But you know, there’s a lot of stories, and it – I think it also helped me to really stay grounded because no matter what fictional story I was working on, I was still doing this at the same time. And you just realize that a person’s life can change instantly – you know, in a split second – and everything is completely different. So yeah, I met some really tremendous people doing it.

WANG: Yes. I mean, the lie enabled me to spend time with her. And what I mean is the lie enabled me to make this movie, which enabled me to go back to her city and spend time with her, you know, and not always spend time with her. But she got to come to set. She got to meet my producers. She has recently met my partner. You know, it’s been a blessing in so many ways. And yet it’s still troubling because ethically, I still don’t know that I necessarily agree with that concept.

Neither wants the other one to worry, which is the prime motivating force in The Farewell,” written and directed by Lulu Wang. Wang, who related the story on the radio program This American Life,” has based the film on an actual lie,” when her real-life Nai Nai was diagnosed with stage-four lung cancer and the family rallied around — not to support her, but to deceive her, telling her she was in perfect health and fast-tracking a grandchild’s wedding so that they would have one last happy gathering.

The tone of The Farewell is mostly light, even when the characters are being put through the emotional wringer. At times the film borders on farce, as Nai Nai (played by Zhao Shuzhen) makes grander and grander plans for the big wedding banquet, and her kids and grandkids scramble to keep up, improvising wildly to keep her happy. And at times The Farewell is more suspenseful, as everyone waits to see if Billi — who arrives in China looking like someone coming to a funeral, not a family reunion — will spoil the scheme by blurting out something inappropriate.

Wang, who moved with her parents from Changchun to Miami when she was 6 years old, was brokenhearted by the news about her grandmother, with whom she had remained close. The film became a vehicle for saying goodbye, as Wang has said, while also offering an opportunity to explore the family’s perspective.

It’s a powerful set-up that happens to be based on truth. Writer-director Lulu Wang went through this very experience when her own grandmother got cancer, discovering that in China even doctors will keep up the pretence. Wang first recounted her kin’s plight in documentary form, as an episode of radio programme This American Life. Turning it into a lightly fictionalised feature film, it turns out, was an inspired move. Each member of the extended family is drawn with sharpness and humour, making them a pleasure to hang with. Nai Nai herself is as benevolent and dignified as the Queen, but with a nice line in acidic put-downs, especially when it comes to the gawky bride-to-be (Aoi Mizuhara). Billi’s mother, Jian (Lin), at first seems to be stolid to the point of passionless, but slowly reveals herself to have a beating heart, after all. And even characters with slight screentime, like Nai Nai’s shambling oddball of a live-in boyfriend, stick in the memory.

Wang is wise to the ways of far-flung families, how people change to conform to the places they live, and how humans try to fool others but are always better at fooling themselves. The father’s older brother has brought up his family in Japan, and his son is marrying a Japanese woman who doesn’t speak Mandarin; for her, the cultural barrier is almost as impermeable as the language barrier. The two brothers are both secret softies who can barely hide their grief; it’s the women in this family — and, by implication, in life — who understand the rules and are best equipped to cope with calamity.

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 delightful, semi-autobiographical family drama from writer and director Lulu Wang. Chinese American Billi (Awkwafina, building on her zesty comic turn in Crazy Rich Asians ) has a foot in each of the two countries. Wang introduces the idea with the same deft writing and wry insight that characterise the film in its entirety. Billi walks through the streets of New York talking on the phone in the respectful Chinese of a dutiful granddaughter to her beloved Nai Nai (Zhao Shuzhen). Yes, I’m wearing a hat,” she reassures Nai Nai (she isn’t). Then she effortlessly switches personas and languages to banter in American-accented English with a canvasser on the street.

Perhaps because she’s so intimately familiar with the paradoxes at play, Wang balances the alternately madcap and melancholy contours of The Farewell” with admirable assurance, channeling her own obvious ambivalence through Billi’s sometimes affecting, often hilarious mixed feelings.

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