Photography by Justin Chung
Lulu Wang is a writer/director who lives in Los Angeles. Her 2019 film, The Farewell, depicts a family that comes together through a lie. The film is culturally and personally specific, though speaks intimately to the universal theme of a family's unbreakable bond. As children of immigrants who run a family business, we often relate to the sense of alienation and obligation that comes from having to constantly bridge two cultures. In short, Lulu's talent for story telling continues to inspire us :)
We first met Lulu as she was embarking on a press tour for The Farewell, where she brought along some of her Building Block favorites. Since then, she’s added more to her collection, including a now well-worn Beltpack that we capture below. On an overcast day, Lulu welcomes us into her home and out to a thriving vegetable and herb garden that she lovingly cares for. She tells us a bit about her background and future plans while offering us a taste of homegrown wasabi mustard greens.
Have you always been a story teller? What got you into filmmaking?
I started out as a musician because my parents raised me as a classical pianist. What drew me to film was the collaborative process as well as the ability to integrate words with images and sound. Even though I was resentful of the piano as a kid, my music background is now integral to my process as a filmmaker.
We are flattered you own many of our bags! What attracted you to Building Block in the first place?
I’ve never been a purse person. Don’t get me wrong, I love to carry things. I carry loads of things in my pockets, in my car, and in all sorts of tote bags. What I immediately loved about Building Block is that it carries objects without feeling like an extra object itself that needs to be carried. Building Block bags beautifully balance form and function.
We know you’re a woman on the move. What kind of essentials do you always carry in your bag, no matter how small or large?
Lip balm, pen, sharpie, highlighter, scented oil, hand lotion, sunglasses!
You’re a talented filmmaker and your brother is a chef—is there a family lineage of creatives in your family?
My mother is a writer and my father was a diplomat, so they’re both storytellers in their own right. And they’re incredibly funny. They’re definitely major influences for both me and my brother.
Any current obsessions?
This doesn’t fit in my smaller bags, but I’m obsessed with books about herbs right now. Since I’ve started a garden, I love learning about the cultural histories of various herbs for cooking and for medicinal use.
Any personal "rules"? Professional "rules”?
I try not to make lifestyle choices that might take away from my artistic freedom. This is something my partner and I discuss a lot - to not build our lives in a way that would force either one of us to take on a project as a “job" over an indie film we’d love to make.
What do you wish to do more of next year?
I’m finishing a limited series this year and excited to dive back into feature films. My brother Anthony is opening his first restaurant next year, so I hope to grow more plants in my garden that he can use in his kitchen. I’m also trying to convince my partner to let us have chickens. Fresh eggs!
What about your life now, would be most unexpected to your younger self?
How little I care about “achievement” now. When I was younger, I remember feeling charged by that Shakespearean quote “...the world’s mine oyster, which I with sword will open.” Now that phrase feels rather violent and… dare I say… colonialist! It’s not that I’m less ambitious, my ambitions have just shifted. I’m less interested in growing an empire, and would rather grow food… and eat it.
Can you share an upcoming project you’re excited about?
The six-part limited series I’ve been working on for about three years will finally be out in the world next year. It’s called “Expats” and it’s been quite the journey making it during a global pandemic.
How do you feel, at your age, right now?
As mischievous as ever. I think I’ve just learned to pick my battles now…
Lulu owns a Beltpack in Vegetable Tanned leather.