My Wedding and Other Secrets

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My Wedding and Other Secrets
Directed by Roseanne Liang[1][2]
Produced by John Barnett
Paul Davis[1][2]
Written by Roseanne Liang[1][2]
Starring Michelle Ang
Matt Whelan[3]
Edited by Eric de Beus[1][2]
Release dates
  • 17 March 2011 (2011-03-17)
Running time 88 minutes
Country New Zealand
Language English
Cantonese
Mandarin

My Wedding and Other Secrets is a 2011 romantic comedy film directed by Roseanne Liang, written by Roseanne Liang and Angeline Loo, and produced by South Pacific Pictures. The film is based on Liang's real-life cross-cultural romance.

Plot[edit]

A Romeo and Juliet story set in Auckland, New Zealand, Emily Chu (Michelle Ang) is the daughter of traditional Chinese parents, whose only wishes are that she marries a good Chinese boy and becomes a doctor. But life seems to have other ideas for Emily, who dreams of becoming a world-famous director and falls in love with a white boy from university, James Harrison (Matt Whelan).

When she and James, two kindred nerd spirits fall clumsily into love they must overcome the expectations of her parents. A Kiwi-Asian, Emily considers herself a banana (yellow on the outside, white on the inside), but her father Dr Chu has a different perspective, and his past threats of disownment on her sister hangs over Emily's head. With their secret marriage, Emily's documentary, and James' ultimatum to learn Mandarin or lose Emily, life suddenly becomes very busy for the young pair.

Stuck between a rock and a hard place, Emily is torn between long-suffering James and her parents who made countless sacrifices to bring their family to New Zealand. It seems Emily must learn the hard way that love and family require sacrifice and not everybody can be happy.

Themes[edit]

Significant themes in My Wedding and Other Secrets are those of cultural differences between migrant parents and their native-born children, of filial piety, and of love.[4][5]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

Roseanne Liang sought to produce My Wedding and Other Secrets, originally titled Girl Meets Boy, a film based on her award-winning 2005 documentary Banana in a Nutshell,[6] and entered into negotiations with South Pacific Pictures.[7][8]

Filming for My Wedding and Other Secrets commenced on 14 February 2010 in Auckland.[7]

Writing[edit]

Auckland-based Chinese New Zealander director and playwright Roseanne Liang and Angeline Loo, a friend of Liang's from university days,[9] wrote the script, largely based on her life, for My Wedding and Other Secrets over four years.[10] The character of Emily is based on Roseanne herself; James is based on Stephen Harris, Liang's boyfriend and later husband; and Dr. and Mrs. Chu and their daughters, Susan and Melanie, after Dr. and Mrs. Liang and their daughters, Renee and Rhea.[10][11]

Liang was born in New Zealand and, like her character, was set to attend medical school and become a doctor;[12] but, after realising her passion in film and others realising this too, attended University of Auckland, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Film/TV/Media Studies and a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Computer Science[9][13] and, later, a Master of Creative and Performing Arts (M.C.P.A.),[14] concentrating in screen writing and directing.[12][15]

Many of the events depicted in the film are also based on events that occurred during Liang and Harris' courtship, including Harris' learning basic Mandarin to win over Liang's parents' approval, as part of Chinese pre-wedding customs.[16]

Casting[edit]

Actor Role
Michelle Ang Emily, youngest Chu daughter
Matt Whelan James, Emily's boyfriend and, later, husband
Kenneth Tsang Dr. Chu
Cheng Pei-pei Mrs. Grace Chu
Katlyn Wong Susan Chu, eldest Chu daughter
Celeste Wong Melanie Chu, middle Chu daughter
Simon London Eric, Emily's film classmate
Todd Emerson Tom, James' friend
Josh Thomson Neil, James' friend
Johnny Barker Danny, Susan's white ex-boyfriend
Mike Ginn Vincent, a "jock lawyer" and son of Auntie May, a friend of Mrs. Chu's
Gareth Yuen Jason, Melanie's boyfriend and, later, husband

The choice to cast Kenneth Tsang and Cheng Pei-pei, as opposed to Australian Chinese and New Zealand Chinese actors and actresses, was intentional.[17] On this decision, Roseanne Liang said, "What I wanted above all was authenticity", with her adding that, "All of the New Zealand and Australian Chinese actors were Chinese people who had grown up in New Zealand or Australia. I wanted actors who could speak Hong Kong-accented Cantonese as well as Cantonese-accented English".[17] Interestingly, however, middle Chu daughter, Melanie Chu, is portrayed by United Kingdom-based New Zealand Chinese actress Celeste Wong.[18][19]

Music[edit]

The following songs are featured in the film:[20]

  • Bic Runga — "Hello, Hello"
  • Bic Runga — "Mama Hao (媽媽好, Mama's the Best)"
  • Bic Runga — "Say After Me"
  • Bic Runga — "This Girl's Prepared for War"
  • Esther Mitchell — "Shining Star"
  • Johnny Barker — "Spiderman's Secret"
  • K Nielson — "The Inhaler Song"
  • Thrill Kill — "The Cad"
  • Xiang Lan Li — "Mei Hua (Plum Blossom)"

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

My Wedding and Other Secrets received positive reviews from major publications in the New Zealand.

Peter Calder of the New Zealand Herald gave the film a five-star review, calling it "utterly charming" and the writing "The logical extension of the idea into a feature film has turned out a cracker - a heartfelt and mildly goofy comedy with a strong thread of pathos that tells a story we should all listen to".[21]

Christine Powley of the Otago Daily Times also gave a five-star review and recommended viewers to "See it with your girlfriends for a nice time, then sneak back by yourself to enjoy just how well-crafted it is".[22]

Richard Kuipers of Variety gave a favourable review, adding "Liang's brisk and breezy direction is complemented by Richard Harling's appropriately simple and effective lensing around Auckland. Snippets of Liang's Super 8 homemovies are delightful. Other technical work is solid on a modest budget".[23]

Awards[edit]

  • Melbourne International Film Festival 2011
  • Asian American International Film Festival 2011 - winner Audience Choice award
  • Feel Good Film Festival 2011
  • Singafest Asian Film Festival (L.A.) 2011
  • Friars Club Comedy Film Festival (N.Y.) 2011 - winner Audience Choice Award
  • Hawaii International Film Festival 2011
  • China Golden Rooster & Hundred Flowers Festival 2011
  • San Diego Asian Film Festival 2011
  • Australia New Zealand Film Festival (Singapore) 2011
  • Aotearoa Film & Television Awards (NZ) 2011 – winner Best Screenplay (Roseanne Liang & Angeline Loo); winner Best Actress (Michelle Ang)
  • Brussels Independent Film Festival 2011
  • International Film Festival of India 2011
  • San Joaquin International Film Festival 2012
  • Chinese New Year Film Festival Auckland University (NZ) Feb 2012
  • San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival 2012
  • National Geographic All Roads Film Festival 2012
  • New York Festivals International Film & Television Awards 2012 - Bronze World Medal for Feature Film
  • Newport Beach International Film Festival 2012
  • Lighthouse International Film Festival (N.J, USA) 2012
  • Prescott Film Festival (AZ, USA) 2012
  • Warburton Film Festival 2012
  • International Film Festival of Fiji 2012

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Crew". My Wedding and Other Secrets. 
  2. ^ a b c d "My Wedding and Other Secrets - Credits". NZ on Screen. 
  3. ^ "Cast". My Wedding and Other Secrets. 
  4. ^ "My Wedding and Other Secrets". MiNDFOOD. 15 February 2011. 
  5. ^ "Interview with Mike Ginn". Filmspace. 6 November 2011. 
  6. ^ Dixon, Bradley J. (6 August 2011). "MIFF day sixteen: My Wedding and Other Secrets, Bobby Fischer Against the World, Melancholia". Cinema Quest. 
  7. ^ a b "Filming starts on Girl Meets Boy". South Pacific Pictures. 26 February 2010. 
  8. ^ Smith, Jacqueline (10 March 2011). "My big secret Chinese wedding". The New Zealand Herald. 
  9. ^ a b Noble, Florence (11 August 2010). "Camera never lies". Idealog. 
  10. ^ a b "Comprehending love when worlds collide". Otago Daily Times. 19 March 2011. 
  11. ^ "TBI Q&A". The Big Idea. 25 October 2012. 
  12. ^ a b Liang, Renee (24 March 2011). "Renee Liang: My sister, the film maker". The New Zealand Herald. 
  13. ^ "Roseanne Liang". Kathryn Rawlings & Associates. 
  14. ^ "Roseanne Liang". Script to Screen. 
  15. ^ "Festival goes nuts over bananas". The New Zealand Herald. 13 December 2006. 
  16. ^ Morgan, Scott (11 March 2011). "Casting a light on culture clash". Auckland City Harbour News. Stuff.co.nz. 
  17. ^ a b Boltin, Kylie (29 July 2011). "My Wedding and Other Secrets: Roseanne Liang". SBS Film. SBS. 
  18. ^ "Celeste Wong Interview: My Wedding and Other Secrets". 2 October 2011. 
  19. ^ "Melanie Chu". My Wedding and Other Secrets. 
  20. ^ "Music featured in the movie". 28 March 2011. 
  21. ^ Calder, Peter (12 March 2011). "Movie Review: My Wedding and Other Secrets". The New Zealand Herald. 
  22. ^ Powley, Christine (19 March 2011). "Film Review: My Wedding and Other Secrets". Otago Daily Times. 
  23. ^ Kuipers, Richard (15 August 2011). "Review: My Wedding and Other Secrets". Variety. 

External links[edit]