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Ang Lee's Film The Wedding Banquet Is Latest Queer Film Added to National Registry

Ang Lee's Film The Wedding Banquet Is Latest Queer Film Added to National Registry

The Wedding Banquet Ang Lee MGM Press Promotional Image [original watermark]

Ang Lee's film is one of 25 added this year, joining many other LGBTQ+ movies from previous years.

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The Wedding Banquet, a 1993 Taiwanese film directed by Ang Lee, is the latest LGBTQ-themed film to be added to the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry.

The library released a list Wednesday of the 25 films being added this year. Films are chosen each year “for their cultural, historic or aesthetic importance to preserve the nation’s film heritage,” says a Library of Congress press release.

In The Wedding Banquet, Simon and Wei-Tung, a gay New York couple, try to convince Wei-Tung’s highly traditional Taiwanese parents that he’s straight by arranging for him to marry a woman who’s renting from him, Wei-Wei, an immigrant who needs a green card. When Wei-Tung’s parents come from Taiwan for the wedding and lavish reception, complications ensue and secrets are revealed.

Lee collaborated with Neil Peng and James Schamus on the screenplay in addition to directing the film. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

“What’s really wonderful about The Wedding Banquet is that it is able to share the experiences of immigrants,” Nick McCarthy, director of programming at NewFest, told NBC News. “Having representation of the immigrant experience through an LGBTQ+ lens, I think, really captures the heart of America.”

Another gay-themed film of Lee’s, 2005’s Brokeback Mountain, was added to the registry in 2018. It and The Wedding Banquet both “show characters that are yearning to live their lives as authentically as possible but may face barriers in an oppressive American ideology,” McCarthy said.

Other queer films in the registry include Scorpio Rising (1964), Pink Flamingos (1972), Word Is Out: Stories of Our Lives (1978), The Times of Harvey Milk (1984), Paris Is Burning (1990), The Watermelon Woman (1996); Boys Don’t Cry (1999), and Pariah (2011).

The full list of films selected this year:

A Movie Trip Through Filmland (1921)

Dinner at Eight (1933)

Bohulano Family Film Collection (1950s-1970s)

Helen Keller: In Her Story (1954)

Lady and the Tramp (1955)

Edge of the City (1957)

We’re Alive (1974)

Cruisin' J-Town (1975)

¡Alambrista! (1977)

Passing Through (1977)

Fame (1980)

Desperately Seeking Susan (1985)

The Lighted Field (1987)

Matewan (1987)

Home Alone (1990)

Queen of Diamonds (1991)

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

The Wedding Banquet (1993)

Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision (1994)

Apollo 13 (1995)

Bamboozled (2000)

Love & Basketball (2000)

12 Years a Slave (2013)

20 Feet from Stardom (2013)

The 2023 additions bring the total in the registry to 875. “Films are an integral piece of America’s cultural heritage, reflecting stories of our nation for more than 125 years. We are proud to add 25 diverse films to the National Film Registry as we preserve our history through film,” Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden said in the release. “We’re grateful to the film community for collaborating with the Library of Congress in our goal to preserve the heritage of cinema for generations to come.”

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.