Mobile discussion feature on MUBI

Farewell, by Tanzanian American director Ekwa Msangi, released exclusively on MUBI since December 18. This amazing debating feature follows a family reunification experience after 17 years apart.

Farewell opening in an airport. Walter (played by Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine) is waiting for his wife Esther (played by Zainab Jah) and daughter Sylvia (played by Jayme Lawson). They have moved to join him in New York after spending seventeen years apart. As Walter welcomes them to his small home in New York, where he took a seat in the living room to become Sylvia’s bedroom, their awkwardness comes to the fore. They are strangers now.

Farewell showing that they are struggling to overcome this 17-year distance of creation between them. Through this uncomfortable reunion, the film gives you a close-up view of the immigrant experience.

Much has changed in those 17 years. Separated by the civil war in Angola, Walter moved to Brooklyn and became a taxi driver. Shortly before Esther and Sylvia arrived, he was in a strong relationship with a young nurse named Linda (played by Nana Mensah). The two lived together in the apartment now Walter welcomes his wife and daughter, but it is clear that he is not yet past Linda. Esther notices that something is wrong on the way to her. But she has also changed a lot since the social science student he married. After moving from their home country to Tanzania with Sylvia, she found safety inside a local church. The furtive scenes Msangi captures reveal Walter’s fascination with his wife’s new religious divinity.

Sylvia, who never knew her father, struggles to connect with him at first, until dance becomes the only thing they have in common. She’s into dancing, but her mother is against it. Esther seems to be struggling more in moving to a new country, a new culture, and a husband she met as a student in Angola, whom she had dreamed of reuniting all day. those years, but who is now far away from it. Walter is now settled in this new country, but both Esther and Sylvia must now try to find their own place in this new culture.

After the first reunion is set, the film splits into three parts, each with its own introductory title – Walter, Sylvia, and Esther. Each region tells the same story, but told through the three different perspectives of the three main people. The film first shows Walter’s struggle, omitting some of the details that fill the other two regions. Each has a personal experience of this strange reunion. This repetition enriches the statement without doing it in any tedious way. He praises the special emotional journeys that these three characters are going through.

The most amazing thing about Msangi’s film is that she captures what’s left unpaid between her characters. There are amazing moments between the three characters where not much is said, where the distant difference between them leaves things without a picture, but the body language of the actors says it all. A unique scene on each side, a nervous smile or a subtle movement is enough to tell what each character is feeling. The stunning subtle performances of Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, Zainab Jah and Jayme Lawson take around the dinner table at the beginning of the film, and of course throughout the film, showing this so clearly. The importance of body language as a way of expressing deep emotions is also evident in the film through dance. Both Walter and Sylvia can express themselves freely through music and dance. This is especially evident in the dance competition series in which Sylvia participates.

Farewell an intimate three-character moving tour reconnects and transitions to a new home. The film is now available exclusively on MUBI and is followed by a Q&A between director Ekwa Msangi and artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah.