Directed by Ang Lee • 1993 • Taiwan, United States
Starring Gua Ah-leh, Sihung Lung, May Chin
Introduction: This film has been programmed as part of the series Hollywood Chinese, a survey on the history of Chinese representation in American cinema, curated by filmmaker Arthur Dong. He notes: “Twelve years before Ang Lee broke the color barrier of winning a directing Oscar for BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, he directed WEDDING BANQUET, his first film centered on gay characters, which thrust Lee into the international arena with an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film.” For further context, we recommend watching Mr. Dong’s series introduction and his documentary HOLLYWOOD CHINESE, now playing on the Channel.
In Ang Lee’s bittersweet culture-clash comedy, Wai-Tung (Winston Chao), a gay Taiwanese man, has a seemingly perfect life living in New York City with his American boyfriend (Mitchell Lichtenstein). There’s just one issue: his traditional parents (Gua Ah-leh and Sihung Lung) back in Taiwan, who don’t know their son is gay and who make no secret of their desire to see him married. In order to placate them, Wai-Tung agrees to a marriage of convenience with Wei-Wei (May Chin), a young immigrant in desperate need of a green card. The complications mount when Wai-Tung’s parents unexpectedly arrive in New York to celebrate the union—with everything coming to a head over the course of an extravagant Chinese wedding banquet.