The Wedding Banquet (1993)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

Original title:  Xi Yan

Taiwan/USA, 1993.  Ang Lee Productions, Central Motion Pictures, Good Machine.  Screenplay by Ang Lee, , .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , Ang Lee, James Schamus.  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

Ang Lee’s first international hit is this sweet update of La Cage Aux Folles.  New York-based landlord Wai-Tung () decides to help struggling tenant Wei-Wei by marrying her so she can get her Green Card.  He figures that telling his parents about his impending nuptials will also get them to stop trying to set him up with mail-order brides from Taiwan; things get dicey when they announce that they themselves are coming from Taipei to visit and throw the couple a proper wedding.  This sounds like it shouldn’t be too difficult except for one snag: Wai-Tung is living with and happily in love with Simon () and his parents have no idea that he is gay.  This is an Ang Lee film, so what follows is not a collection of silly antics involving mishaps and slamming doors but a thought-provoking and delightful investigation of the meaning of love and family.  Even the film’s corniest moments can’t be ruined by such wonderful personalities, in the case of Chao a former flight attendant who had never acted before but has an appeal too strong to be undone by his obvious lack of experience.   is outstanding as the protagonist’s mother, vital and vibrant in moments both exhilarating and tragic, while the central sequence involving their wedding feast is brimming over with vitality and humour.

Academy Award Nomination:  Best Foreign Language Film

Golden Globe Award Nomination:  Best Foreign Language Film

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