Category: Reviews – New Releases/Festivals

Image courtesy of PBS Distribution.

(NOTE: A version of this article was published here.)

**** (out of 4)

In an ideal world, nobody would have to endure the things that happen in Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts’ For Sama. Framed as a letter to al-Kateab’s daughter Sama, the documentary tells the story of al-Kateab and her husband Hamza, two Syrians who lived in Aleppo during the Syrian Civil War. After the initial protests against Bashar al-Assad gave way to armed conflict, the couple stayed in the eastern part of Aleppo, where Hamza set up a hospital. Even as Aleppo came under siege, the two of them refused to leave, only capitulating when the city finally fell to Assad’s forces in late 2016.

Reviews - New Releases/Festivals

Reviews - New Releases/Festivals

Image courtesy of A24.

** ½ (out of 4)

Lulu Wang’s The Farewell tells the story of what its opening title card calls an “actual lie.” The protagonist, a Chinese-American woman named Billi (Awkwafina), learns at the film’s start that “Nai Nai” (Zhao Shuzhen), her paternal grandmother, has terminal cancer. In a decision that leaves Billi shocked and angry, however, Billi’s relatives decide that it’d be better to conceal this diagnosis from Nai Nai – and to create an excuse for everyone to see Nai Nai one last time, they hastily arrange a wedding in Nai Nai’s hometown between one of Billi’s cousins (Chen Han) and his Japanese girlfriend (Aoi Mizuhara).

Reviews - New Releases/Festivals