Skip to main content

THE WEDDING BANQUET

Taiwan, 1993 (MIFF 1993)

Director: Ang Lee

Joint winner of the Golden Bear at this year's Berlin Film Festival, The Wedding Banquet represents yet another thematically daring, thoroughly entertaining film from Taiwan. An engaging social comedy with sly political undertones, the movie's farcical fulcrum, namely a marriage of mutual convenience in New York, provokes both laughter and a few lingering questions to ponder. In short, it's an ideal opener for a film festival which seeks to offer not the same old songs but new measures sung with fresh voices.

And fresh is the only way to describe director Lee's breezy spin on that venerable dramatic convention, the family nuptials. For a start, the groom, Gao Wai-Tung (newcomer Winston Chao) is a young, gay New Yorker comforlably set up as a successful real estate investor with an emotional attachment to live-in Caucasian lover, Simon (Mitchell Lichtenstein, still remembered for his brilliant performance in Altman's Streamers). To appease the increasing concern of his elderly parents back in Taiwan with regard to their son's perennially single marital status, Wai-Tung, on Simon's suggestion, agrees to a simple registry office ceremony with Wei-Wei (pop star May Chin), an illegal art student from Shanghai residing in one of Wai-Tung's buildings. Amusing complications arise with the arrival of the Taiwanese elders in the Big Apple's big smoke and a straightforward formality escalates into a major production number. Not only do mum and dad move into their boy's apartment, but a momentary bout of drunkenness causes an unexpected accident that changes everyone's lives.

See also...

THE WOODEN MAN'S BRIDE

Nineteen twenties China, a time of transtion and hope, as the feudal society reluctantly bows to the promise of a new republic. In the remote North West, barely touched by change for thousands of ... More »

TERRORIZER, THE (M)

“The film suggests that we all have our ways of ‘terrorizing' each other, and that we'd all like our lives to be as coherent and resolved as fiction. Yang reaches high, and his aim is true.” ... More »

RED LOTUS SOCIETY

... ... From TV talk show ritual to rock stardom dreams, pop culture is the site for magic and spirituality amidst today's soulless materialism. For teenage Ahda, son of a hilariously bad quack ... More »

TAIPEI STORY (PG)

“[A] quietly stunning drama which sees the various problems facing a rapidly modernised city reflected in the lives of a dozen or so subtly observed characters.” - Time OutStarring MIFF regular ... More »

A CITY OF SADNESS

ALL BAR ONE of Hou Hsiao-hsien's films have screened at previous Melbourne Film Festivals. This year, the Festival is proud to present Hou's most recent film, winner of the Golden Lion at last year's ... More »

WARRIORS OF THE RAINBOW - SEEDIQ BALE: PART 2

“Spectacular... authentic feeling actioner recounting an aborigine rebellion in 1930s Taiwan.” - Hollywood Reporter ... Continuing the resplendently mythic visage of part 1, this conclusion to ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director