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‘Expats’ – “Nicole Kidman brought me onto this” director Lulu Wang told acv at LFF2023 (review here too)

Star director of The Farewell’ brought Nicole Kidman starrer series ‘Expats’ to London Film Festival (LFF 2023)

SHOT on location in Hong Kong and very much about different ethnic families living there, showrunner, director-screenwriter, Lulu Wang talks to acv on the Red Carpet at the London Film Festival screening.
She tells us that it was Nicole Kidman who got her onto this project.
LFF 2023 screened her 90-minute episode which is the 5/6 – read our review on site.
The drama is women-centric and based around their lives and experiences – Nicole Kidman is just one of the women characters we get to know in ‘Expats’.
Wang, also pronounced Wong (in English), made ‘The Farewell’ with US star Awkwafina and it catapulted into Hollywood pretty much.
This series ‘Expats’ is based on a novel, ‘The Expatriates’ by Janice YK Lee and will drop on Amazon Prime on January 26.
It is set in Hong Kong in 2014 and follows three American women who live there: Margaret (Kidman) Hillary (Saraya Blue) and Mercy (Ji young Yoo) and also their culturally diverse domestic staff.


Scene from Expats – right Margaret (Nicole Kidman)

Drama is one to look out for and diverse cast make it so

FOR AROUND 60 minutes we were hooked and engrossed.
In one way that bodes well because this six-part drama is told in 60 minute episodes but this one screened at LFF (and premiered in Toronto) is 90 minutes long and the last 30 is taken up with the tragedy – of a child dying – that affects Margaret (Nicole Kidman) and her family the worst – the actual incident either occurred in an earlier episode or is more clearly delineated in previous episodes. It is hard to feel this narrative when we are so much in the dark – all we know is that a young child belonging to Margaret and her American Chinese husband passed away in some accident, it seems.
Up until we meet Margaret, this particular episode was very watchable, entertaining, stimulating and interesting – we wanted to see more.
But the last segment dragged and we actually didn’t care too much for Margaret during this episiode.
It is set against the protests in Hong Kong at the time and it is exhilarating to see Wang cover so many different mixed heritages and both young and old and people in very different segments of society – from the very richest like Margaret to her domestic staff which Wang also devotes time to in this beautifully shot drama.
It looks gorgeous, the acting is of high order and the characters are interesting. We are intrigued enough to recommend – though perhaps we would have rather seen the first two episodes at LFF. (Sailesh Ram)
Acv rating: *** (would have been four but for the last 30 minutes).

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Written by Asian Culture Vulture