Farewell Amor or the disillusionments of family and marriage status

Realized and produced by the Tanzanian and American filmmaker Ekwa Msangi and distributed by Mubi, Farewell Amor (2020) is a bittersweet experience about long distance relationships and and the stigmates of maintaining marriages, especially in an African cultural context. Enriched by a fantastic casting and an intimate and sublime visual production, the movie is essential to apprehend the difficulties of siblings and/or parental links.


The major issue of the movie is this broken family. The father Walter (played by Ntare Mwine), a New Yorker taxi driver has left her wife and her daughter in Angola. 17 years after, his wife Esther and daughter Sylvia, finally rejoin him. This schema that I have personally seen in my entourage is more common than we think. With an ocean in between, the husband and the wife have nothing left but the phantom of their young years of loving and of course their daughter, who has been obtained from her school and her friends. In this tiny apartment, 3 individuals coexist with their personalities and mostly with their traumatismes of the past and actual situation.

The case of the mother Esther (played by Zainab Jah) is almost clinical and deserves a special attention. Esther is in a mental space between desperation and hope. I don’t know as an human and a woman how you can’t live without your husband for that long and still hope that he could have waited for you. Esther sources of energy is prayers and faith. She has still a feet in Angola in her mind, where her ethnic roots and her spiritual family allow her to maintain her old ways of thinking and living. Esther is an intelligent and adorable mother who doesn’t allow herself to feel and to finally understand the situation : her family doesn’t exist anymore nor her marriage. The case of the father is more simple. I do not accept his ways especially the cheating but Walter has just survived in a new country, far from everything he has known. Farewell Amor transcribes perfectly the new state of abroad and transcontinental relationships. In an international and globalized world, couples and families are often divided between a better socio-economical situation away or the fear of being stuck and in danger but protected by their social and family environnements.


Through these tensions and misunderstandings, Walter, Esther and Sylvia succeeded to surpass the situation with tears and brutal conversations. They have personally admitted their wrongs and done their inner therapies on their own and then together. Walter has let down his invisible barrier that he has left growing for 17 years, he is now aware of his role of father. Concerning the marriage, it will take a lot of time. Esther who was fooling herself in her fragile marriage was hurting her daughter and herself with her insecurities and her blindness. The end of the movie is classic but important. We can clearly see that the main character of the movie is Sylvia, a young girl who is trying her best to accept her new life with her own issues. She has lived in the shadow of her mother for too long and has now gained the possibilities to express herself and built her new personal life. Her parents have finally understand that their marriage also has been a mirage and where no foundations have been posed to bear it.

The final dance battle scene of Sylvia is joyful and full of freedom. The end of the movie let us hope with kindness and sadness that the family will finally take a new beginning and will try to heal all this stored sorrow.

Farewell Amor is the first long movie of Ekwa Msangi and it is definitely a success. The movie is an honest production, that can speak to a lot of persons. It was refreshing to see these kinds of stories on screen, portrayed by a raw production and a black and yet ethnically diverse casting. Despite the topic, the movie can make all of us think about our relations and the ambitions of being married and parents in this modern world, weakened and divided in multiple cultural and political universes, some more advantages than others. Finally, Farewell Amor reminds us that a family and a relationship can not survive and be made alone.


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Pictures from Google Images.

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