My Wedding and Other Secrets
Roseanne Liang / New Zealand / 2010 / 88 min / English / Color / 35mm
Pride and Prejudice by way of Eagle Vs. Shark, My Wedding and Other Secrets explodes the East-West dichotomy in New Zealand. Basing the film on her 2005 documentary Banana in a Nutshell, Roseanne Liang upends the conventions of typical romantic comedy leads, sending a nerdy filmmaker (Michelle Ang) careening into love and marriage with an even unlikelier suitor, a Dungeons & Dragons enthusiast named James (Matt Whelan). The result is an engaging story of a young woman who finally grows up.
Desperate to finance her “martial arts-cum-sexploitation” student film, the budding Tarantino Emily Chu convinces fencing partner and sometime bedfellow James (Matt Whelan) to marry her for love and money (though not necessarily in that order). Her strict Chinese parents (Pei-Pei Cheng and Kenneth Tsang), however, forbid their three daughters from even entertaining non-Chinese beaus, which forces the couple to separate every night before curfew. Convinced by a cineaste friend (Simon London) to focus on filming her real-life relationships instead of imaginary vampires, Emily must find a way to reconcile her dreams of love and film with the actuality of her family’s demands.
With an unreliable narrator in Emily and a Fellini-esque movie within a movie, My Wedding and Other Secrets isn’t a typical indie film; it eats “quirky” for breakfast, along with Weet-Biskits and duck feet. Liang handles weighty concepts like identity and love with an unexpectedly deft touch, mining racial and family relations for comedy gold. A strong showing from a young director, My Wedding and Other Secrets bodes well for the future of Asian-New Zealand cinema.
- Director: Roseanne Liang
- Producer: John Barnett, Paul Davis, Janet McIver
- Cinematographer: Richard Harling
- Writer: Roseanne Liang, Angeline Loo
- Editor: Eric De Beus
- Cast: Michelle Ang, Matt Whelan, Pei-Pei Cheng, Kenneth Tsang