The Wedding Banquet

The Wedding Banquet, directed by Ang Lee, Taiwan, 1993
Gao, Wei-tong, a Chinese-American homosexual man living in New York City; in the U.S. for ten years and naturalized as a U.S. citizen; very athletic and works out in the gym religiously; also a real estate agent who owns and rents out several apartments; due to his cultural and ethnic upbringing, unable to reveal his homosexuality to his Taiwanese parents who have been pressuring him to marry and have children
Simon, Gao Wei-tong’s live-in gay partner for five years; works as a physical therapist in a NYC hospital; a very good cook; innocently conspires with his Chinese lover to arrange a paper marriage between Gao Wei-tong and his tenent Miss Gu, to thwart the attempts on the part of Gao’s parents to have their son marry, and to help Miss Gu get a green card; pretends to be Gao’s landlord when his Taiwanese parents come to the U.S. to witness their son’s wedding
Gu Wei-wei, an illegal immigrant in NYC from Shanghai, China, single and living in one of Gao Wei-tong’s crummy and poorly ventilated apartments; a talented painter enjoying very much her freedom as a freelance artist and as a single woman, but also hoping to marry an American citizen in order to get a green card; often works illegally as waitress in restaurants, yet still unable to pay Gao monthly rent; becomes pregnant accidentally while pretending to be the bride of her landlord; wants to abort the fetus but, after Mrs. Gao pleas with her on her way to the abortion clinic, changes her mind
Gao’s father, a retired and respected former commander of the Nationalist Army, which he joined as a young boy to escape the marriage his father had arranged for him with a woman he did not love; in advanced age and poor health; suffers from high blood pressure and minor strokes; hopes to see grand-children before he dies; on hearing the news of his son’s marriage, flies to the U.S. with his wife to attend the wedding; able to understand enough English to detect his son’s homosexual relationship with Simon, and wise enough not to interrupt the deception being staged to honor his will; privately lets Simon know, before his departure to Taiwan, that he knows the truth and gives him money on his birthday as a token of acceptance
Gao’s Mother, a paragon of female propriety and virtues; conscientious and assertive in her role as a mother and wife to fulfill the duties and obligations of the Gao patrilineal family; a tireless match maker for her bachelor son; a faithful observer of marriage rituals and decorum at her son’s wedding; strongly opposed to homosexuality and vehemently advocating the role of women as mothers


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