Ahhhhh... I'm so, so excited for The Farewell.
I tear up every. single. time.
I love this interview with writer and director Lulu Wang:
Emily Yoshida: The color palette stayed in my memory for months after I first saw it. It’s both very kitchen sink Mike Leigh, but with this softness to it, like the feeling of memory.
Lulu Wang: The first thing I really wanted to capture in the film was the fluorescent lighting in China. I was thinking a lot about what light means in a country like China that has historically not had money. If you don’t have money you have candlelight, which looks like the chiaroscuro pools of warm tungsten light, that we romanticize in Western culture. In China, they don't romanticize that as much, because that stands for poverty. When you have money, you want to flatten and flood the room with as much light as possible. My grandma would always walk into a room and be like, "Why is it so dark in here?"
At the same time, I didn't want to do fluorescence the way that it's been done in a hip, cool way like a lot of Hong Kong cinema. The challenge was to figure out how to do fluorescent lighting, but still make sure that people felt warm. That was a big part of the feeling of the film that I wanted to capture—pastels are a really big thing in China, and that desaturated lighter look. Once we got to the wedding, we let the colors pop a lot more. But otherwise we kept it in the pastel palette you often see in China.
I think that there's a lot of pastels because there's a naivete to the culture; they really embrace innocence. My grandma has that poster of that cute baby in her bathroom, and to her it's just cute. There's no irony to it at all. I love her house, and because their lives have been so hard, they're not looking for edginess in their home.