EAT DRINK MAN WOMAN (1994) film genres…

 

My Father was the centre of the family, and everybody tried to please him. My Mother loves me and everything goes well. I have no conflict whith her, so that’s not dramatic. Ang Lee 

Why was I not offended by the portrayal of a stereotypically unpleasant old woman, mother and grandmother  in  Eat Drink Man Woman?  Why was I not unsettled by a man marrying a woman as young as his daughters?

Viewing the film with a group or reading reviews did not help. No comments addressed the subject or, more seriously the subject of ageing. 

How I would like to have the time to research and analyse this film frame by frame!…But on reflection only a few lines will do. It is Lee’s sense of fun, light touch, empathy and exceptional director’s skill in depicting ageing and family intergenerational differences that made the film so appealing.  With the stuff of classical family melodrama, its violent outbursts and high emotional explosions, Lee constructs a film difficult to categorise. IMDB tries the usual genres: comedy, drama, romance but none singly or as a group, will fit. There is a past emotional trauma, a religious conversion, a pregnant teenager, a lover’s betrayal, the death of a friend, the loss of a paid for new apartment, students’ abuse of a teacher, and  father/daughter conflict.  For me the scenes featuring the old woman were pure farce, a genre I am partial to.  The scene where the little girl takes orders for her mates’  school lunches is also hilarious. I find it impossible to be judgmental in this context. 

The film is the last of Ang Lee’s trilogy called  Father Knows Best – undoubtedly a man’s view point, but a very sensitive, fun and feel-good point of view…. It is constructed like a visual puzzle where small details are very significant and one needs to notice the clues that propel the narrative. The film deserves serious and time-consuming research and analysis that I will leave for the time being. 

 

About rinaross

Born in 1935. MA in Film and Television Studies at the University of Westminster 1998. Studying the representation of older women in film since then.
This entry was posted in Ageing, Ang Lee, classic film, fable, food, grief, love, melodrama, three generations of women, women's friendships and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to EAT DRINK MAN WOMAN (1994) film genres…

  1. franceslass says:

    Obviously such a strong reaction needs investigating! I loathe farce, though. I’ll get back to you when I’ve watched.

  2. Andree Ryan says:

    May be you were not offended because it is so near to reality, the older woman i loved, to me she is not a caricature at all, i see myself in her

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