Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Wedding Banquet Response

After watching Wedding Banquet, I thought the most interesting aspect of the movie was the concept of lying and keeping secrets. At first, Wai Tung, Wei Wei, and Simon keep the secret about Wai Tung and Wei Wei’s marriage when Wai Tung’s parents come for the wedding. There are scenes in the film where they totally redo the interior of Wai Tung and Simon’s house as they replace pictures, remove books, unroll scrolls of Wai Tung’s father’s calligraphy, and rush around to make the house appear more Taiwanese in Wai Tung’s efforts to appear the obedient son his parents wish him to be. This is a group effort, as Wai Tung, Wei Wei, and Simon all participate in this act of lying. Later, when Wai Tung’s mother finds out about Wai Tung’s sexuality, she insists that nobody reveal this secret to his father, as she fears it will kill him. Another secret in the film is when Wei Wei contemplates getting an abortion, as Wai Tung tells his mother they are going to go shopping when they are actually leaving to go to the abortion clinic. The viewer finds the tables are turned when Simon discovers that Wai Tung’s father has known about Wai Tung’s sexuality for a while. However, Wai Tung’s father tells Simon to not tell anybody that he is aware of Wai Tung’s sexuality, thus adding onto the many secrets the family keeps from each other. In the end, I thought it was very interesting that the sole person who knows all of the secrets of the Gao family (from the marriage to the abortion to Wai Tung’s father’s knowledge of Wai Tung’s sexuality) was Simon, the only person who is not truly part of the family. It is perhaps through this omniscient role that Simon is able to take his place in the Gao family.

Another interesting spot in the movie I wanted to point out was when, after hearing a white person at the wedding banquet say that he thought the Chinese were “quiet math whizzes,” a Chinese guest points out, “You’re witnessing the result of 5000 years of sexual repression.” I found this statement to be vital to the movie, as it shows the simultaneous liberation of heterosexuality and the repression of homosexuality through the wedding banquet. In essence, the viewer is witness to both of these events, as Wai Tung is forced into taking on a heterosexual role and is expected to be free with his affections towards Wei Wei (the guests insist that Wai Tung’s peck on the cheek is not good enough for a kiss). At the same time, Simon is unable to do anything but watch as the crowd eggs the heterosexual couple on. This statement emphasizes the tensions felt by Wai Tung in being both Taiwanese and homosexual, as it shows that these two aspects of his self are historically portrayed as incompatible.

No comments: