Banana In A Nutshell

Saturday 5 April, 10.55pm

A New Zealand-born Chinese girl and her Pakeha boyfriend navigate the cultural minefield of getting a blessing for marriage from her traditional parents.

Growing up in New Zealand, Roseanne Liang was the perfect Chinese daughter. She excelled in piano, ballet and drama, as well as becoming dux of her school. She did everything her parents expected of her until: she fell in love with a Pakeha called Stephen, and decided to make a film about it.
The result is Liang’s fresh, poignant and slightly neurotic account of her personal Herculean task – getting her traditional Chinese parents to accept her boyfriend. Spanning six years of subterfuge, two years of despair, and six months of Stephen trying to master Chinese, Banana In A Nutshell is the intimate story of a girl’s two loves – her Kiwi boy, and her Chinese parents – and the struggle to keep both relationships intact.

“The slang definition of ‘Banana’ is: an Asian who has been brought up in Western society: yellow on the outside, white on the inside,” says Liang. “Well, that’s me. And this is my story, in a nutshell.

“There’s a mantra in film scriptwriting that goes ‘write what you know, write the truth’. This film could not be more real – it is aware of its construction, but there is no acting. It is one person’s point-of-view – mine – and doesn’t try to be anything else.”

Liang’s objective was to simply and honestly represent her perspective of a cross-cultural love story, which is a much-romanticised genre.

“As the film has a happy ending, I believe its underlying message is that while navigating between two such diverse cultures can be difficult, if the process is given due time and respect, the ultimate result is more satisfying and worthy than simply forcing an unhappy end. But at the end of the day, Banana In A Nutshell is simply my love story – and not just in the romantic sense. It is also a love letter to my parents. It’s also a story that I know isn’t uncommon.”