Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Wedding Banquet and Asian Traditions

I felt that the movie, The Wedding Banquet, was more of a movie about Asian traditions rather than a movie about homosexuality. Homosexuality was used as a medium through which traditions within an Asian family were shown in the movie. This movie represented the need for members of an Asian family to keep secrets from each other to preserve the family honor and pride. The pressure to honor parents’ wishes, which usually conflicts with the person’s own wishes which leads to some kind of twisted obedience and secrecy is a common theme in many Asian films. It was interesting to see how secrets are kept from the patriarch of the family to protect him when the whole time, he knows the truth. The portrayal of the father as being wise, but quiet is also a traditional Asian theme. The last part of the movie where we find out that everyone knows the truth and can handle the truth, but keeps it from each other is a really common Asian tradition. Although everyone was able to accept the truth, not letting each other know and being in denial was a better solution to them than to face some sort of shame. I feel that Asian culture approves of secrecy and denial to keep some kind of honor over accepting the truth and the shame that comes with it.

Reading the chapter, “Coming Out into the Global System,” by Mark Chiang made me appreciate the film so much more. I hadn’t realized how much symbolization had been used in the movie. I found his interpretation of the film’s resolution depending upon disciplining Wei Wei as the figure of resistance really interesting. He describes how Wai Tung’s impregnation of Wei Wei is the mechanism of his control over her and how this is analogous to how the consolidation of a transnational patriarchy of capital is fundamentally dependent upon subordination of women and labor(Feng 281). I hadn’t even realized how Wai Tung’s occupation of being a “slumlord” was significant and how he was profiting from the exploitation of illegal immigrants. Also, I had initially thought that Wei Wei’s decision to keep the baby as a symbol of the power women had to keep a family together because it placated the Wai Tung’s parents and kept Wai Tung from losing Simon. Chiang interpreted this decision as Wei Wei’s imprisonment to the global system and the loss of her liberation. There were many other interpretations Chiang made in his examination of the film that made me realize how the movie was more of a reflection of society rather than homosexuality.

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