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Wedding Banquet, the [Import]

Winston Chao , May Chin , Ang Lee    R (Restricted)   DVD
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 45.97
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This 1993 international hit by Ang Lee is a funny and poignant story of a gay, Taiwanese-American man who goes to some lengths to fool his visiting family that he's actually straight. The results are far more complicated and entertaining than anyone could have guessed. The film seems all the more rich now since Lee has become a major Hollywood director: that same sensitivity and mild bemusement he brought to such stories of manners as Sense and Sensibility and The Ice Storm in recent years are in full bloom in this earlier work. --Tom Keogh

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding June 23 2004
By pm444
The first Ang Lee film that I saw was "Crouching Tiger". I didn't realize that he had directed films as varied in theme as "Sense and Sensibility" and "The Ice Storm", both of which are excellent films. In some respects, I found "The Wedding Banquet" to be the most accessible and intimate of his films that I have seen. It's certainly the most humorous.
The plot has been summarized by other reviewers, and in lesser hands it could easily have turned the film into a cliche. Given that the film appeared in the early 1990's, it could also have look dated to viewers in 2004. However, this film is not dated and it's not a cliche. Instead, it's a warm-hearted (but never maudlin) look at the importance of family, cultural heritage, and the difficulty of leading a hidden life, even when your relatives live on the other side of the world.
Much of the dialogue is Chinese (with English subtitles), but this is one of those rare films where I quickly became accustomed to the subtitles and they did not interfere at all with my enjoyment of the movie. The fact that the Chinese characters actually spoke Chinese made the film more believable.
Ang Lee's talent for visual composition is apparent throughout the movie. It's filled with scenes of real beauty, which is not always the case with comedies. Too often, movie comedies are shot as if they were widescreen TV sitcoms. That's not the case here. The production values are consistently high, so much so that I was surprised to discover during the DVD featurette that it was a low-budget film.
This film is fun to watch, with excellent acting and outstanding direction.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Film, Even in Repeat Servings!! July 13 2004
By H. Wang
I watched this film the other day for the first time in about 10 years and it still touched my heart. As a Chinese growing up in the U.S, I can understand how cross-cultural differences can really take a toll on one's life. Ang Lee did a great job because he is truly one of the few directors out there who I feel puts a lot of real emphasis on character development. The film did a great job of focusing on people's individual expectations, and the means by which people would go in order to live up to those of their parents'.
I was lucky enough to talk to Ang Lee at a film discussion last year. I told him that the Wedding Banquet was one of my favorite films of all time, and he seemed appreciative of that, because he felt he took a lot of care in developing the essence of character conflict and tension. This is definitely a movie worth adding to one's collection.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fun and touching Dec 19 2003
By Dennis!
Format:VHS Tape
"The Wedding Banquet" is one of the first films I saw in American mainstream that had as its main plot vehicle a gay Asian-American man and the conflicting pressures that places on him. This movie is funny and touching in its all-too-realistic depiction of Gao Wei-Tung's protracted attempts to please his parents and hide his sexuality (and, indeed, his lover).
The movie takes a few more tosses and twists than it needs to, however: I could have done well without the extra plot line that gets thrown in after the wedding night (and you know what I mean)... because that then just throws in the complications of further sexual dynamics which weren't necessary for a full resolution of the familial disharmony.
In any event, though, the movie is a definite keeper and well worth watching. I laughed, I cried, and empathized. I do wish it were on DVD, though.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the wedding you won't forget April 7 2004
(...)P>Story revolves around Wei Tong (played by Winston Chao), a very attractive 30 something chinese american living in the NY. He seems the prefect marriage material for any girl execept when he calls home, it's "Simon, will be home before 6pm!"
He's gay and happily attached to the dashing American boyfriend Simon (played by Mitchell Lichtenstein. So what's the problem... Mum and Dad in Tawian wants grand wedding and a grandchild and they will do anything to find him the perfect match.
Ang Lee takes a humours approach towards the film but never deters from the storyline of "do we live to please our parents or for ourselves".
Buy it and I'm 150% you'll laugh, cry and love the movie!
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5.0 out of 5 stars one of the best gay romantic film! April 1 2004
The first time i saw the movie years ago, i fell in love with it. The story was simple yet very powerful and theres a lot of symbolism in the movie. The acting is very natural and if their story happens to me, i might do and feel the same thing as what Wei does. I love the cell phone scene where they exchange I love you to each other. That was very romantic! I cant wait for this dvd version to be released.
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