After learning their beloved matriarch has terminal lung cancer, a family opts not to tell her about the diagnosis, instead scheduling an impromptu wedding-reunion back in China. Headstrong and emotional writer Billi rebels against her parents' directive to stay in New York and joins the family as they awkwardly attempt to rekindle old bonds, throw together a wedding that only grandma is actually looking forward to, and surreptitiously say their goodbyes. A heartfelt celebration of both the way we perform family and the way we live it, THE FAREWELL masterfully interweaves a gently humorous depiction of the good lie in action with a thoughtful exploration of how our cultural heritage does and does not travel with us when we leave our homes. Writer/director Lulu Wang imbues THE FAREWELL with warmth and knowing wit, while the uniformly excellent ensemble cast (anchored by a breakout performance by Awkwafina) invites us to share this extended clan's joy and sorrow--and to feel, for the length of this remarkable film, like a part of their family.
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Tzi MaActorFor more than four decades, Tzi Ma (pronounced "TAI MA") has blazed new trails for the representation of Asian Americans in Hollywood. Celebrated for his uncanny versatility, his body of work encompasses virtually every genre across film, television and theater. From big budget studio pictures like Disney's Mulan and the Rush Hour series to acclaimed independent films like The Farewell and Meditation Park, Ma's unforgettable performances have garnered unanimous critical acclaim and honors throughout his groundbreaking career. Long outspoken on issues of racism and media inclusivity, Ma has been a leading voice for the Asian American community. Despite the limited number of parts for actors of Asian descent during the early part of his career, Ma vehemently refused to perform roles that he considered demeaning or stereotypical. This unwavering stance helped kickstart a newfound consciousness in Hollywood that has transformed the way Asian American characters are portrayed. Born in Hong Kong and raised in Staten Island, Ma worked at a family-owned Chinese restaurant while honing his craft in the New York theater scene. During this period, he worked with then-emerging playwrights David Henry Hwang and Eric Overmyer; who both wrote plays specifically for Ma (The Dance and the Railroad and In Perpetuity Throughout the Universe, respectively). In 1978, Ma made his screen debut alongside Jack Palance and Andy Warhol in the cult classic Cocaine Cowboys directed by Ulli Lommel. Throughout the 1980s, Ma continued to perform in regional and off-Broadway productions while appearing as a guest star on hit television programs like The Cosby Show, The Equalizer, LA Law, MacGyver and Star Trek: The Next Generation. In the 1990s, Ma became a ubiquitous presence on the big screen with supporting roles in such major releases as Robocop 2, Rapid Fire, Chain Reaction, Dante's Peak and Rush Hour. As the new millennium began, Ma balanced a prolific film and television career in which he appeared in over 25 shows between 2000 and 2009, including NYPD Blue, ER, Law & Order and 24. During this time, Ma also began diversifying his roles on the silver screen with a range of unconventional characters. In addition to critically-praised performances in such prestige projects as Phillip Noyce's The Quiet American starring Michael Caine and Joel and Ethan Coen's The Ladykillers starring Tom Hanks, Ma also began appearing in independent features by up-and-coming Asian American and Asian Canadian filmmakers. Throughout the 2010s, Ma had scene-stealing roles in Million Dollar Arm, Arrival and The Farewell as well as recurring parts in major TV shows such as 24: Live Another Day, Hell on Wheels and The Man in the High Castle. He also branched out into voice work with roles on animated shows like American Dad! and video games like Sleeping Dogs. In 2017, the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television nominated Ma for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance as a suspected philandering husband in Mina Shum's acclaimed drama Meditation Park. At the dawn of a new decade, Ma's continues to be in high demand as his career reaches unprecedented new heights. Recently, his performance as a dispassionate father and divorcee in Netflix's Tigertail earned him rave reviews from critics and audiences alike. Later this year, he'll be seen in one of his most high profile roles to date as the father of the titular character in Disney's action adventure Mulan.More
AwkwafinaActorNora Lum, known professionally as Awkwafina, is an American actress and rapper. She has played supporting roles in the comedy films Ocean's 8 and Crazy Rich Asians (2018), and her leading role in the comedy-drama The Farewell (2019) earned her a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress nomination. She has released two albums, Yellow Ranger (2014) and In Fina We Trust (2018). She has also ventured into comedy and hosting, making television appearances in Girl Code, Future Man, and Saturday Night Live. Lum was born in New York City to painter and South Korean immigrant Tia, who died when she was four, and Chinese-American father Wally. She grew up in Forest Hills, Queens, raised by her father and his grandparents; she became especially close to her grandmother. One of her paternal great-grandfathers was a Chinese immigrant in the 1940s; he opened the Cantonese restaurant Lum's in Flushing, Queens that was one of that neighborhood's first Chinese restaurants. Lum attended LaGuardia High School where she played the trumpet and was trained in classical music and jazz. At age 16, she adopted the stage name Awkwafina, "definitely a person I repressed" and an alter ego to her "quiet and more passive" personality during her college years. Lum majored in journalism and women's studies at the University at Albany, State University of New York. From 2006 to 2008, Lum attended Beijing Language and Culture University in China, where she studied Mandarin. Lum states that Charles Bukowski, Anaïs Nin, Joan Didion, Tom Waits, and Chet Baker were early influences. Prior to her career in entertainment, she was an intern at local New York publications Gotham Gazette and the Times Union newspaper in Albany, and was a publicity assistant for publishing house Rodale.More