Film Study

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Qudanxin Liu
Ang Lee’s film The Wedding Banquet is a tale of conflicts between sexes, cultures and generations. Among various implicit meanings of this film, construction and challenge of patriarchic ideology stands out through out the film. The figure of father is first constructed as powerful, predominant and wise via different types of elements, but finally he has to compromise in this film. The narrative structure enhances the dramatic change of the father. At the same time, techniques like framing, lighting and camera movement all serve as supporting tools. As says in David Boardwell’s book Film Art, narration “decides what information to give the spectator and when to supply it”. Ang Lee used most part of this film to tell how other characters are trying to deceive the father until almost the end where he shows us that they are actually the ones to be deceived by the father. But spectators are informed of the fact that Weitong is homosexual from the very beginning, therefore are cued to look forward not to what kind of conflicts will happen but to how will these conflicts be solved. Thus the father’s remaining the key factor of this process of solvent, from being the main obstacle to the ultimate solver, strongly constructed the powerful and great figure that resonates with the patriarchic ideology. Meanwhile, plot setting produces a contrast between father and mother. For example, analyzing shot #5 following by shot #11, we can conclude from the crying mother and the calm father that there is a huge contrast between the mother’s flustration, helplessness, weakness and the father’s calmness, sagacity, strength and even lenience. Nevertheless, the more powerful the father is constructed, the more dramatic this father-son conflict becomes. Challenge of the patriarchic ideology thus becomes extremely distinct and important in this film. Other techniques are significant, too. The use of lighting is especially functional here. In shots like #6, #8 and #11,...
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