Farewell Amor is a small type of film that has circulated at several circuit festivals, but not high profile enough to attract the attention of the wider public, then enliven the awards season, nor too obscure and artsy to gather cult following in the cinephile ranks. Moreover, the attention related to the theme of “immigrant life” is focused on Minari. Top Movie Site
Initially, I didn’t have much expectation about the debut of Ekwa Msangi (director and scriptwriter), which was made based on his short film Farewell Meu Amor (2016). Until then Msangi’s sensitivity surprised me. Even since the opening scene, there is a touching reunion between Walter (Ntare Mwine), his wife, Esther (Zainab Jah), and their teenage daughter, Sylvia (Jaime Lawson).
The three met after 17 years ago, after the end of the civil war, Walter left Angola for the United States, where he worked as a taxi driver, while Esther and Sylvia moved to Tanzania. At first glance, the reunion is full of happiness, but soon we see a stumbling block emerge from the hope of building a harmonious family based on the American Dream.
Sylvia looked awkward in front of her father. But isn’t that natural after a dozen years of not seeing each other? True, but slowly the fundamental differences began to emerge. To Walter’s surprise, he found that his wife was now so devout of religion, prayed eagerly to be kept away from “demonic devastation”, and even refused to drink alcohol. In fact, the Esther he used to know was a cheerful woman who liked to party and dance. Best Movie
Walter himself keeps a secret. As Esther continues to be loyal, Walter spends years in America with a woman named Linda (Nana Mensah), whom he is forced to leave, once his wife and child arrive. While her parents are having a hard time rebuilding the relationship, Sylvia is also in trouble. From acts of racism by fellow blacks who called him “African”, to the desire to participate in dance competitions that his mother opposed.
Msangi divides the plot into three chapters which are titled according to the names of the three main characters. Each chapter serves to invite the audience to get to know the character further. Both directing and writing, Msangi always puts empathy first. The audience is made to understand, without having to agree. The wrong actions (Walter’s affair, Esther’s fanaticism) are still wrong, but thanks to deep understanding, we won’t hate them, even sympathize.
Walter’s decision to have a relationship with Linda, rather than disloyalty, tended to be based on loneliness and despair. Seeing conditions related to immigration, the chances of never seeing his family again are greater. Solitude also haunts Esther, who has lost so much (and is afraid of losing even more) that she needs a grip, which she finds in religious teachings.
Complex, heavy, but again, Msangi tells her story with empathy. Rather than angry outbursts as criticism, the focus is on expressing concern for immigrants. As a result, Farewell Amor has become a positive story that believes in hope. With such positive nuances, in a more universal realm, the film talks about family. That whatever happens in a husband-wife relationship, don’t let the children suffer the consequences. Movie Review