Eat Drink Man Woman
October 26, 2013
Following Pushing Hands and The Wedding Banquet, Eat Drink Man Woman is the final and culminating film of Lee’s so-called “father trilogy.” In each film, a Chinese patriarch is forced to confront the conflict between tradition and modernity head on because of his children. Here that conflict takes a variety of seriocomic forms in the lives of the patriarch’s three daughters. As the film’s title suggests, food provides a recurrent motif to anchor the film’s narrative sprawl; the creation and consuming of meals that bring the family together as it threatens to break apart. Like his countrymen Hou Hsiao-hsien and Edward Yang, Lee demonstrated his mastery of the feature film by branching into complex narrative structures with parallel plots and multiple protagonists.