THE WEDDING BANQUET
DIRECTOR: ANG LEE
COUNTRY: USA/CHINA 1993
MUSIC: MADER
CAST: Ah-Lehngua (Mrs Gao), Sihung Ling (Mr Gao), May Chin (Wei-wei), Winston Chao (Wei Tong),
Mitchell Lichtenstein (Simon)
SUPER FEATURES: Funny situations make this fun to see.

Unlike many foreign films, this is a mix. It is a shame that it gets billed as a foreign film, and gets its audience limited because of it. THE WEDDING BANQUET is a nice film to enjoy, and one that has surprising twists and turns all along the way. The question, from the start, is how is the main character going to get out of his predicament, which is not only personal, but also cultural.

Wei Tong has been in America for a long time. And as is becoming his time, he has changed, and become a part of the new scenes and styles. He has become gay and has a live in lover, whose house he lives in. And it is no secret that his parents have been trying to get him married off to some well to do girl, in order to better their own social status, or reasons. The problem is that Wei Tong doesn't care for these things, and his homosexuality goes against it altogether.

And the parents send over a prospective partner, who does not fit, even if she is artistic (and he likes it), but not much of a personality beyond it. Wei is a landlord, taking care of a few properties, where one of his tenants appears to be someone that he has had a few encounters with, which he does not deny, or accept to anyone, either. She is an artist, and seems to be down on her luck, and about ready to get deported. Now the humanitarian
Wei has to do something else for his people... just what he needed, and didn't want.

And to stave off the family they plan a wedding to the girl that Wei already knows. And the family accidentally goes to a well to do place, where the owner was once a recruit under the old man's command. And now the party really gets to be fun.

The wedding takes place, and the party is a riot. Everyone wants a piece of the action, and the marrying party is forced to be a part of all the jokes and games. And when we least expect it, they pop in one more time, to insure that this marriage does not get wasted.

And our homosexual friend is having fits. Simon is just head over heels. And Wei just got pregnant in the process. And now the film has to figure out what to do with the family, and how to resolve the whole thing.

Well, it isn't exactly funny, but the moments in between are very enjoyable, and the party bits are crazy. And the characters are kinda sucked up into it, and end up performing their roles without wanting to, but accepting it. Given the oddity, one would think that the film would crash, but it manages to walk that fine line and not quit. When it seems lost it gets funnier. When it gets deeper in trouble, things get jumpier than before, and more
entertaining.

The film comes to a satisfying end, individually, but at the cost of a cultural breakdown, which is not pleasant for the parents, but life has never been fair, now, has it.?

While the subtitles do not keep this a full fledged foreign film, most of it is in English, this is a fun film to keep up with and rather enjoyable. Not a great film, but a fun one, along the lines of Jamu Itzamo's stuff. The story is actually well defined, and is not old. It is timely and evidently a concern for many of the people of that culture. This is about the new changes, and the new lives that many are making, not the old ways... but the old ways provide a lot of fun.

3.5 GIBLOONS

 

   

      

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