50 Years of SIFF: The Wedding Banquet

The Wedding Banquet

Taiwan | 1993 | 106 min. | Ang Lee

November 23 - December 1, 2023

50 Years of SIFF

To satisfy his nagging parents, a gay landlord and a female tenant agree to a marriage of convenience, but when his parents arrive to visit, and celebrate their wedding, things get out of hand. Presented on 35mm.

Wai-Tung Gao (Winston Chao) seems to have it all: financial security from shrewd real estate investments, American citizenship, a beautiful brownstone in Manhattan, an American boyfriend, Simon, who cooks great Chinese food, and a continent and large body of water between him and his parents. But somehow the distance isn’t great enough, they still expect him to marry and continue the family name. Simon proposes a simple solution: marry Wei-Wei, an impoverished tenant in one of Wai Tung’s buildings who is desperate for a green card. Mutual convenience catapults the idea into reality but the plans go awry with the arrival of Mom and Dad. A registry wedding rapidly turns into a full-blown traditional Chinese banquet with all the trimmings. The couple submits to tradition to such an extent that Wei-Wei ends up pregnant. Although the film is not a political allegory, its background does represent a farcical reunification of Taiwan and China. In a cameo appearance at the wedding banquet, director Ang Lee summarizes the film’s motivation with the line “You’re witnessing the results of 5,000 years of sexual repression”. Co-winner of the Berlin Film Festival’s Golden Bear award in 1993. 

  • Original Language Title: 喜宴
  • Director: Ang Lee
  • Principal Cast: Winston Chao, May Chin, Gua Ah-leh, Lung Sihung, Mitchell Lichtenstein
  • Country: Taiwan, USA
  • Year: 1993
  • Running Time: 106 min.
  • Producer: Ang Lee, Ted Hope, James Schamus
  • Screenplay: Ang Lee, Neil Peng, James Schamus
  • Cinematographers: Jong Lin
  • Editors: Tim Squyres
  • Music: Thierry Schollhammer, Chosei Funhara
  • Filmography: Gemini Man (2019), Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (2016), Life of Pi (2012), Taking Woodstock (2009), Lust, Caution (2007), Brokeback Mountain (2005), Hulk (2003), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), Ride with the Devil (1999), The Ice Storm (1997), Sense and Sensibility (1995), Eat Drink Man Woman (1994), The Wedding Banquet (1993), Pushing Hands (1991)
  • Language: Mandarin
  • Format: 35mm