Monday, March 10, 2008

The Wedding Banquet- Secrecy

Similar to much of life, The Wedding Banquet does not progress in any singular direction. At its beginning, the film is composed of primarily comedic elements; many of these later result in serious consequences, such as Wei-Wei's pregnancy and Wai-Tung's eventual coming out to his mother (which, heavily contrasting with the comedic path earlier in the film, is almost heartbreaking). Perhaps it is because of the film's constant shift between family drama and comedy that the movie is not so concerned with many of the loose ends that are a result of the three young protagonists' scheme.

Secrecy plays a large role in many of the movie's unanswered questions. Wai-Tung, out of fear of his father's health, keeps his sexual identity hidden from him. Yet his father knows of this secret and in turn hides from his son his knowledge. Once the credits roled, it was as though no one completely knew what the other was thinking or what was going on within the family. It was as though the idea of a connected family became shattered and disjointed. I wonder if Ang Lee is trying, in some manner, to relate secrecy and homosexuality together. Another point that plays off on this relationship is the contrast between the wedding banquet and the wedding at city hall. In the latter scene, it almost felt as though Wai-Tung knew of no other friends that Simon. However as one can see, there were many guests at his wedding banquet-many of whom were clueless about Wai-Tung's sexuality. So not only did his sexual orientation clash with his parents and their expectations of his lifestyle, it also was hidden from his asian friends. Does this indicate something about asian culture in the 90's? The guests, as one partygoer suggested, are not in any way sexually repressed; however, are they progressive enough to embrace and accept Wai-Tung's lifestyle. It kind of seems unlikely. Even Wei Wei, one of Wai-Tung's few asian confidantes who knows of his orientation, claims (while they are in bed that) she is liberating him- perhaps from his need to form a secretive barrier from those around him.

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