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Movie Eat Drink Man Woman (1994)

Discussion in 'DLP & Chill' started by Zombie, Aug 3, 2018.

  1. Zombie

    Zombie Black Philip Moderator DLP Supporter

    Apr 28, 2007
    Not to steal any thunder from the HP movie watching threads, I figured I'd start one for mine and @Halt's shared passion, which is Chinese food movies. That being said, I present to you:


    A comedy to arouse your appetite.


  2. Solfege

    Solfege Chief Warlock DLP Supporter

    Nov 21, 2008
    East Coast & the South
    I remember watching this for class years ago, and am gratified at how one can benefit from a rewatch (or a reread) with aged experience.

    I'd expected a much fuller movie than was shown, since of course a well-set table is all about the family coming together. That romance was to be at the very heart of it was natural, what with three daughters... but it was very much a surprise to have the younger and elder stories so cut off. If it was to give a sense of the abruptness with which a parent feels their children leaving the nest, it worked.

    The downside was, of course, lack of development. The youngest child's story was eminently naive and naively fortuitous, what with the boyfriend being a lone kid with rich absentee parents. It's a wonder he turned out as well as he did. And the oldest daughter was — odd. But symbolically presented the other side of the spectrum, a woman whose complications arose from a fear of intimacy. It would fit well to reverse, the college student with a hooligan biker and the schoolteacher with a literary man; but I suppose this was a parcel of subverting expectations.

    The middle child was the most balanced in her attitudes towards career and femininity (personal expectations?), and so it was her struggle we were privy to most. Very appropriate that she didn't give in to either temptation but chose to pursue an independent path instead. She was always the adventurous one, as the first to try foraying out the household as her own woman: the failed apartment investment.

    The initial scene-setting is infamously sumptuous. I'd love to hear what yours and Halt's impressions of it were, and particularly what you saw that set this cooking apart from what you know.

    But of course if one grows up eating this style and quality of food daily, there's no novelty at all. And that's where evidently the personalities take over. At the very beginning of the movie, we see a trio of daughters suffocating beneath apparent stagnation. It's no fault of the father's so far as we can see, but rather a natural outgrowth of a home life grown too small.

    To be honest I didn't catch much about "father knows best" ... and if traditional values were being given way to new forms, they did so not through interpersonal or societal conflict, but through the realisation of one's own desires out of her own mental barriers.

    I mean that all three women were rather non-traditional already. It was merely what they
    thought others were expecting of them, or otherwise the serendipity of circumstance, that might've held them back.

    In any case it's very fitting that the spirit of the family dinner should be restored once new elements are engaged. It doesn't even matter that we barely see Jia-Ning and her boyfriend or Jia-Jen and her husband; what matters is that they come back to the dinner table, in spirit if not in person. So whereas at the start we see a feast too large for a family, barely eaten and consequently cleared as leftovers, by the end we see a family that's grown to equal the feast, a sense of taste returned.

    I don't expect this thread will see many participants, so maybe make it a general/comparative food movie thread? I just watched Tampopo and would love to see a few comments about the sheer fucking sensuality of it, certainly a very different approach.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2018
  3. Perspicacity

    Perspicacity Destroyer of Worlds ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

    Nov 27, 2007
    Where idiots are not legally permitted to vote
    High Score:
    I saw Wedding Banquet and EDMW in the theater with my wife (herself mainland Chinese) back when we had started dating, so this film has always had a bit of an odd resonance. It has a lot of what makes early Ang Lee films good: unspoken and unresolved tension among characters, start and stop relationships that only sort of work after the edges have worn off.

    The opening cooking scene is one of the more memorable of any of his films. Thanks for the link--watching it again made my day.