Female Filmmaker Friday: Lulu Wang, Director of "The Farewell"

Share with friends

"For me, the film is really about just understanding other cultures, and just...different strokes for different folks."

Lulu Wang is a Chinese-born American writer, director, and producer. Born in Beijing, China, Wang and her family immigrated to the United States when she was six.

Receiving her bachelor’s degree from Boston College, Wang moved to Los Angeles to study and work in film. She collaborated with fellow intern Bernadette Bürgi. The two would collaborate on films, making short films and music videos through their own production company, Flying Box Productions.

Her first feature film Posthumous debut in 2014 at the Zurich Film Festival. Wang was awarded the Chaz and Roger Ebert Directing Fellowship at the Film Independent Spirit Awards.

In 2019, Wang’s second feature film, The Farewell, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2019. The film, starring Awkwafina, is about a Chinese family who discovers their grandmother is dying, and decide to keep it from her. Instead, they schedule a wedding to come together before she passes. The film, while composed of poignant moments, is also humorous, as all families, with their many quirks, are.

“What made me want to tell the story was just the intersection of the proximity of humor and grief and sadness…I think that it’s a story that has a sort of bigger setup — it’s sort of this ridiculous setup, but through the setup, through the conceit, it really explores all of these layers of things that I’ve always wanted to explore about my own identity, about being part of the Chinese diaspora, about what it means to be an immigrant and also just being able to show modern China and the changes that are happening there and what that means to me every time I go back and things are different or things that I love are gone.”

After the hit, Crazy Rich Asians, Asian Americans are finally seeing representation in the cinema; a trend on the rise, including The Farewell and the up-and-coming Disney live action Mulan. But more needs to be done. These are important stories. Learning about others experiences and cultures expands world views, and also helps us see we are more alike than different.

The Farewell is now in theaters.