It has been 17 long years waiting for Walter (Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine of “The Chi”). That’s when he left his wife Esther and baby daughter Sylvia in Africa, as he fled war-torn Angola to forge a new life in New York City as a taxi driver. Walter’s years of petitioning US immigration has finally been approved, and Esther and Sylvia (now a moody teenager) have come to join him in America.
Shouldn’t this film be titled “Welcome Amor”??? It’s Farewell Amor for a good reason. Walter, Esther and Sylvia’s long-standing romanticisation of reunion is a bubble that is quickly burst when they realize how the years of separation have turned them into absolute strangers. In a one-bedroom Brooklyn apartment, the emotional space between them is as great as the physical distance is miniscule.
There’s more than 51 million international immigrants in the US, but Farewell Amor succeeds in reminding us that each person that makes up that overwhelming statistic is an acutely individual set of perspectives and experiences. First-time feature filmmaker Ekwa Msangi gives each character their own point-of-view share of the narrative, and we see the aches and fears and vulnerabilities of Walter, Esther and Sylvia as they form a touching, slow-moving dance back toward being a family again.
The film will be accompanied by a Q&A with Director Ekwa Msangi, moderated by Clayton Davis of Variety.
Why This Is A GEM:
- It’s a universal reality that all families will occasionally find themselves stuck at a point where they can’t find a way to overcome unspoken obstacles that hold them back from having important and necessary conversations. In the story of Farewell Amor, this happens to an African immigrant family, but anyone who has ever been in ANY family (that is, all of us) will remember a moment when they’ve experienced that awkward impasse, and compare their personal experiences to how Walter, Esther and Sylvia try to overcome that moment.
- Producer Huriyyah Muhammad received the Amazon Studios Producers Award for Narrative Feature at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival for Farewell Amor.
- On her website, writer/director Ekwa Msangi states that one of her key goals as an artist is to “transform our society’s images and relationships with African cultures, and to empower African filmmakers in telling their stories”.
This screening is sponsored by the Jordan Alexander Ressler Charitable Fund and Alacran Group.