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The Wedding Banquet
14A, 106 minutes
May Chin; Wai-Tung Gao
The Chinese wedding banquet that gives his funny and poignant comedy of manners both its title and its most riotous moments is an opulent nuptial celebration that refuses to end.
In the movie's virtuosic banquet sequence, 300 wedding guests gorge themselves on a sumptuous feast that leaves many of them literally retching from overindulgence. The newlyweds are coerced into kissing ostentatiously and into drinking so many obligatory toasts that they are left reeling.
The kicker to the celebration is that unbeknownst to almost everyone, the marriage is a sham. The bridegroom, Wai Tung (Winston Chao), is a gay real estate entrepreneur who lives with his lover, Simon (Mitchell Lichtenstein), in Greenwich Village. A naturalized American born in Taiwan, Wai Tung is marrying only to please his parents, a Taiwanese army general (Sihung Lung) and his proper wife (Ah-Leh Gua). To his chagrin, General and Mrs. Gao, who live for the day they will have a grandchild, insist on flying all the way from Taipei to New York City to meet the bride.
Wai Tung's fiancee, Wei Wei (May Chin), happens to be one of his tenants. A painter and part-time waitress from the Chinese mainland, she is marrying him to obtain her green card. She also finds Wai Tung very attractive. And the wedding-night pranks played on the couple facilitate a pregnancy that adds layers of unwanted complication to a ruse dreamed up by Simon. Stephen Holden-New York Times