What "The Farewell" Has to Say About Western Involvement with China

In a season of mass protests in Hong Kong and a fierce dustup with the NBA, the acclaimed new Chinese-American film is (almost) silent on the costs of engaging with authoritarianism.

A24.

A24.

Observation
Nov. 5 2019
About the author

Julian Sinclair is an economist in Israel’s clean-technology and renewable-energy sector. An ordained rabbi, he has translated and annotated Abraham Isaac Kook’s 1909 introduction to the laws of the sabbatical year (Hazon, 2014) and is the translator of Micah Goodman’s Maimonides and the Book that Changed Judaism (Jewish Publication Society).


One of the most celebrated of this year’s films has been The Farewell, a small-budget independent movie made by the young Chinese-American director Lulu Wang. Tipped for the 2019 Oscars, it has received critical panegyrics in most leading U.S. media outlets (the Wall Street Journal: “funny, emotionally intricate”) and was the subject of no fewer than four lengthy and laudatory pieces in the New York Times. It was also a major hit at the annual film festival in my hometown of Jerusalem.

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More about: Arts & Culture, China, Israel-China relations, Politics & Current Affairs