Monday, January 20, 2020

The Farewell: a comedy?

This was spurred by a best friend of mine exclaiming to me that Awkwafina won the Best Actress by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy. In his words... "Why is this film a comedy?!"

Let's ignore the fact that the nominations are actually submitted, and hence could be "decided" (see also: gamed) for the maximum chances of winning.
Side note: going up against Saoirse (sur-sha) Ronan or Scarlett Johansson is daunting to say the least.

I have noted that out of the times that I've been to see this movie, there were scenes that elicit different emotions from the audience.

Minor spoilers
The funeral home scene to me stood out.

There was a juxtaposition between the end of the last scene, with the mother saying that they employed people who cry... straight cut to a woman crying extremely loud and tearful in front of a funeral in progress. Seemingly to showcase the absurdity of the situation.
People laughed.

People laughed at the family burning paper iPhones, credit cards, cash.
People laughed at the peeling of the fruits, the opening of the chip bags, the idea that ancestors can't peel themselves in their corporeal form.
(The directors' real grandfather btw)

Honestly, I was a little taken aback. I mean, I also chuckled at removing the petals from flowers to prevent thieves. I have done it myself, and honestly, didn't think too much of it. It was until I saw some people taking the flowers and food from a grave. They picked out the good looking stalks, and then walked to the entrance of the funeral home to add to their existing flower bouquet.
Those... were for sale of course.

I stopped my chuckle. This... well.

The Farewell is, to me... a drama written and shot like a comedy.
While what's on screen is comedic, the events that trigger your own emotions is... drama.
That's easier to digest for people, and for repeated viewings. Pulling punches if you will.
Still, I don't see the fault in that, the film provides an interesting premise, and delivers.
They are designed as an escape, an outlet.

I wrote more about this film here.

This quote keeps floating back to me:

"You think one's life belongs to oneself. But that's the difference between the East and the West.
In the East, a person's life is part of a whole. Family, Society."

I think perhaps then... the hardest part for me, is to juggle between the two worlds. To be selfish... and be okay with it.

I do hope you find a balance as well.

P.S. While we are on this dramedy train, Fleabag is a good recommendation as well, more Brit dry wit, less ancestors.

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