Monday, March 10, 2008

The Wedding Banquet, a film depicting the weight of ethnic identity and sexuality might seem transparent, but subtly introduces transpacific topics. The anxieties surrounding homosexuality is not isolated to an ethnicity. The film clearly depicts Wai Tung’s parents as being nervous about sexuality and it also illustrates the feelings that some people living in America still have. Neighbors of Simon and Wai Tung definitely expressed their discomfort with homosexuality. Although the neighbors were just briefly mentioned, I sense/feel that homophobia infects lives regardless of ethnicity. It is just unfortunate that a country that might be portrayed as being progressive still should develop acceptance.

Concerns about imperialism seem to have taken odd forms. Westernization and homosexuality were associated by Wai Tung’s mother’s ideas that “this is just a phase.” Wai Tung’s mother remembers when Wai Tung was in college in Taiwan he had girlfriends and that this “phase” only showed up recently in America. Wai Tung’s conversation with his mother in the hospital illustrates his mother’s apprehension towards the “changes” that occur once relocating (as if Wai Tung had been corrupt). Wei Wei’s inability to cook a few eggs and carry out other domestic duties was utterance of fear of “westernization.” Wei Wei and Simon quickly switched positions in the kitchen to give the impression that Wei Wei had prepared the delicious dinner instead of Simon. What if they had revealed the true identity of the executive chef? Would that have changed the mother’s opinion about Simon being Wai Tung’s life partner? It is interesting the position of Wei Wei in all of this. Her character was a bit demonized by “westernization”, which illustrates an Asian female far from home indulging in alcohol, working illegally, aggressively chasing men, and marries for citizenship. She is portrayed as being completely different from who she leads the parents to believe. Wei Wei surrenders herself at the end of the movie to the ultimate symbol of America, a hamburger.

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