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Exploring Chinese Family Relationships through Ang Lee's "Father Knows Best Trilogy"


With Zhuoyi Wang

The initial three films in director Ang Lee's career, Pushing Hands (1991), The Wedding Banquet (1993), and Eat Drink Man Woman (1994), are often collectively referred to as the "Family Trilogy" in Chinese or "Father Knows Best Trilogy" in English. These three works hold significant importance in the history of Taiwanese cinema, partly due to their groundbreaking perspective that bridged the gap between Eastern and Western cultures. They offer a fresh and insightful portrayal of the complexities and contradictions within Chinese family culture. This lecture will focus on the delicate complexities of father-son, father-daughter, and husband-wife relationships depicted in these three films. It will use these relationships as a starting point to discuss how a cross-cultural perspective can help us observe and reflect upon Chinese social and cultural dynamics. With Guest Speaker Zhuoyi Wang: Zhuoyi Wang is Professor of East Asian Languages and Literatures (Chinese) at Hamilton College, the author of "Revolutionary Cycles in Chinese Cinema, 1951-1979" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), the co-editor of "Maoist Laughter" (awarded 2020 Choice's Outstanding Academic Title), and the co-editor of Teaching Film from the People's Republic of China (the Modern Language Association, forthcoming). He has published over 30 articles and reviews in scholarly journals, edited volumes, magazines, and new media outlets, and has given over 100 invited talks and lectures on Chinese-language and Hollywood cinemas as well as pedagogical use of films for institutions and organizations in the US, the UK, Canada, Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.


Asia focus, Movie/Film