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— by Anne Cohen: The Farewell is an incredibly specific movie. Most of the action takes place in Changchun, an industrial city of nearly eight million people in Julin, a province of China sandwiched between North Korea and Russia, and the vast majority of the dialogue is in Mandarin. Based on director Lulu Wang’s own family story, it revels in personal details — the taste of her grandmother’s homemade food; the sound of the leaves rustling around her grandfather’s grave (which she used as a true-to-life location in the film); the colorful chaos of her cousin’s wedding hall. And yet, what makes The Farewell so unbelievably moving is that, through that very specificity, it touches on fundamentally universal themes: the sorrow associated with the impending loss of a relative; the pull of nostalgia for childhood; and the bittersweet relief and confusing guilt of an immigrant’s return to their native country, after years spent assimilating abroad…

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July 10, 2019