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The Farewell (15*) + introduction by Mekella Broomberg

Queer 80s

A woman looks on as another woman cries in front of her.

A gay woman struggles to cope in the repressive home of her bourgeois father on the eve of WWII in Helsinki in Tuija-Maija Niskanen’s haunting period drama. 

In this beautiful, poignant Swedish-language drama by Finnish director Tuija-Maija Niskanen, a gay woman, Valerie (Pirkko Nurmi) struggles to cope in the repressive home of her haute bourgeois father on the eve of WWII in Helsinki. We witness key moments in her childhood and life as a young adult with her cruel father and passive mother, as she determines to follow her heart. 

Niskanen’s film is infused with the spirit of Ingmar Bergman’s period dramas and features many of his regular collaborators, including actors Gunnar Björnstrand and Stina Ekblad (the latter, who plays Valerie’s lover, starred as the androgynous figure of Ismael in Fanny and Alexander the following year). Sweden and Finland paved the way to greater LGBTQ+ equality in the 1980s – the repressive society depicted in The Farewell shows just how far they had come.

Tagged with: Cinema Queer 80s

Sweden-Finland 1982 dir Tuija-Maija Niskanen 90 min 


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Mekella Broomberg

Mekella Broomberg is a Creative Producer, maker of festivals and Humanist Celebrant. She has written, performed and produced in the worlds of literature, puppetry, circus and film. She currently curates the public programme of the Royal Society of Literature.

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