Originally Published in Salon
Gary M. Kramer - December 8, 2020
Filmmaker Ekwa Msangi spoke to Salon about changing identities, African dance, and tiny NY apartments
The film shows how each character individually adjusts to this new life together after so long apart. Walter, who drives a cab, still tries to find ways to see his mistress, Linda (Nana Mensah). Sylvia attends school and hopes to participate in a step contest as she loves to dance — despite the disapproval of her mother. Esther, who is devout, struggles with her faith and her family.
Msangi shows how each character changes over the course of the story, and her prismatic approach provides revealing details that illuminate the commonality of the characters. The filmmaker recently chatted via Zoom with Salon about "Farewell Amor."
I like how Esther and Sylvia both have one foot in the new land and one foot in their homeland, as they navigate a new life in America. What prompted you to tell this immigrant story?
I'm an immigrant, and I live in Brooklyn, so I'm surrounded by immigrants. I have rarely seen immigrant stories about the Africans that live in New York. I wanted to make space for that. I was inspired by my aunt and uncle, who are were married in Tanzania in the mid-'90s. My uncle got a student visa to come to the U.S., and he had every intention of bringing his wife and 5-month-old right behind them. But to this day, they have been stuck in an endless cycle of visa applications and rejections. Watching the way that it has changed them as individuals and changed the family in general. I was inspired by the [idea] – What if the visa was no longer an issue, and Auntie and cousin were able to come? Where does one begin after so many years apart? How do you repair a relationship like that?