VBMA TUESDAY’S FLICK PICK
The Farewell (2019) Drama
The film follows a Chinese family who, when they discover their beloved Grandmother has only a short while left to live, decides to keep her in the dark and schedule an impromptu wedding to gather before she passes. Billi, feeling like a fish out of water in her home country, struggles with the family’s decision to hide the truth from her grandmother.
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Image credit: Ben Shahn, Levana, 1966, Lithograph on paper, 15/125, 30 x 22 ½ in, Gift of the George Armstrong Memorial in memory of George P. Armstrong
The theme of joy in the midst of sorrow at the heart of The Farewell resonates with Ben Shahn’s Levana (1966). This print is one in a series of 10 inspired by the essay “Levana and the Ladies of Sorrow” written by Thomas de Quincey in 1845. The text discusses Levana, the goddess of childbirth, and imagines three companions for her: Our Lady of Tears, Our Lady of Sighs and Our Lady of Darkness. Shahn’s linear representation of the goddess captures the rounded fecundity of her body, while her downcast gaze alludes to the ever-present sorrow in the midst of life.
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