The Farewell

The Farewell ★★★½

This is the moment of the Chinese American. The American Chinese.

Forty plus years of socio-cultural-economic binding since Nixon’s 1972 visit has brought us to this place. Trade wars and rhetoric suggest two empires pushing and pulling for control of global resources, and of course there’s a lot of truth in this. But there’s a greater truth at play here too.

While I was in Pakistan last year discussing the Chinese Pakistan Economic Corridor with a Pakistani/United Arab Emirates economist and close friend, he said something kind of grotesquely beautiful about Chinese/American relations.

“You are two nations that are one. So profoundly knotted up economically that you might as well be Siamese twins. If one economy falls, so will the other. The games of aggression are not those of rivals, but of brothers.”

Oversimplified? Maybe.

But here we are. Giants of the East and the West. We could not be more culturally different. The protests in Hong Kong, a region at the social center of the China/West divide, illustrates this struggle. Yet we are so much more diplomatically close in many ways than we are with Russia, the third global power. Which, of course, was the exact strategic mission of Nixon’s visit in the first place (to gain leverage over U.S./Soviet relations).

Now, in a year that’s been fantastic for Chinese cinema, here comes a sweet little film that puts human faces on the last forty-seven years of bridges built and crosses that divide with sweet familial joy and pathos, showing how we are both the same and different in so many ways. As someone who is fascinated with Chinese culture and the East/West divide, I found it all pretty wonderful.

Hand in hand we go forward.

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