Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Banquet (1991 film)

The Banquet , also known as ''Party of a Wealthy Family'', is a comedy film. It was quickly filmed for a Hong Kong flood relief charity, after the Yangtze River flooded in July of that year, killing over 1,700 people and displacing many more in the eastern and southern regions of mainland China.

A large ensemble of actors and crew worked on the film, many in supporting roles and cameos. The principal star is Eric Tsang.


Developer Tsang Siu-Chi and his agent have bought two of a group of four properties. Rival developer, Boss Hung has secured the other two properties. Both aim to buy all four so they can knock them down and build hotels.

The agent learns that billionaire Kuwaiti Prince Allabarba is due to arrive in Hong Kong and advises Tsang that they could dupe him in order to gain a billion dollar contract. The prince's father has recently died and the prince bitterly regrets that he wasn't a good son.

The agent tells Tsang that he should make a show of the positive relationship he has with his father, to impress the prince. Unfortunately, Tsang has not seen his father for 10 years. Along with his wife and his sycophantic assistant , Tsang heads off to bring his father back. When they meet up, Tsang pretends to have cancer to convince his father to come home, along with his sister and her husband .

Tsang throws a banquet to impress the prince, pretending that it is also a birthday party for his father. However, it has all been a ploy by the agent, who has secretly been working for Boss Hung.


Almost 100 well-known Hong Kong actors appeared in the film, many of them in cameo roles.
The core cast consists of:
* Eric Tsang - Tsang Siu-Chu
* Sammo Hung - Boss Hung Tai-Po
* Jacky Cheung - Jacky Cheung Ah Yau
* John Shum - Curly, Boss Hung's assistant
* Tony Leung Chiu Wai - Wai, Tsang's assistant
* Rosamund Kwan - Gigi, Tsang's sister
* Tony Leung Ka Fai - Leung, Gigi's husband
* Richard Ng - Father Tsang
* Carol Cheng - Mimi, Tsang's wife
* Joey Wong - Honey, Jacky's wife
* George Lam - Prince Alibaba of Kuwait
* Kwan Hoi Shan - Uncle Chicken Roll
* Lau Siu-Ming - Wong
* Jamie Luk - Vassal
* Pau Hon Lam - Uncle Lotus Seed Bun
* Michelle Reis - Kar-Yan Li
* Lydia Sum - Aunt Bill
* Bill Tung - Uncle Bill
* - Forty
* Gabriel Wong - Vassal

The character of Father Tsang has a number of staff, including a sword expert, Master Lau / Uncle Nine , a servant , two English teachers , a make-up artist Mak and a body language expert / gigolo .

Tsang Siu-Chu has a daydream about the banquet, in which his imagined self is played by Leslie Cheung, with Aaron Kwok as his brother, and the imagined Prince Allabarba is played by Alan Tam. He also fantasises that a stream of attractive actresses including Anita Mui, Sally Yeh, Sylvia Chang, Angie Chiu and Gong Li attend the meal. These are followed by leading Hong Kong actors including Chan Yau, Stephen Chow and Michael Hui . All of these actors play themselves in the dream sequence, and some return in additional roles at the actual banquet.

At the actual banquet, Tsang's staff include cooks Leon Lai and Ng Man Tat, servants Meg Lam and Wong Wan-Si, and waiting staff May Lo Mei-Mei, Sandra Ng, Fennie Yuen, Ti Lung and Kenneth Tsang.

Guests at the banquet include David Chiang, , Ku Feng, Carina Lau, Lee Hoi San, Loletta Lee, Waise Lee, Maggie Cheung, Leung Ka-Yan, , Lawrence Ng, Barry Wong, Johnnie To, Melvin Wong, John Woo, Pauline Yeung, Gloria Yip, Chor Yuen, Tai Chi Squadron, Yuen Cheung Yan, Mimi Zhu and the band members of .

The band playing at the banquet are played by Paul Wong, Wong Ka Kui, Wong Ka Keung and Yip Sai Wing.

Further roles include Teresa Mo and Andy Lau as TV presenters, with Teddy Robin Kwan, Wan Chi Keung and Billy Lau as soccer players. Philip Chan and Anglie Leung play a pair of cops, chasing a thief played by Tommy Wong. Additional cameos include Josephine Koo as a photographer, as a food vendor, as a jogger, and Lowell Lo as a cab driver.

Box office

The film grossed HK $21.92 million in Hong Kong.

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