Wayne Wang – Eat a Bowl of Tea (1989)

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Synopsis
Ben’s wife wants some attention. Ben’s boss wants some dedication. Ben’s father wants some grandchildren. And Ben just wants a minute to sort it all out in Wayne Wang’s gentle comedy, “Eat a Bowl of Tea.” In New York’s Chinatown of the late 1940s, young Ben Loy (Russel Wong), fresh out of the service, has his whole life spread out before him — including a job, an apartment, and a marriage arranged by his father (Victor Wong) to the beautiful Mei Oi (Cora Miao). But as eager as the couple is to see what America has to offer them, that’s how eager the whole of Chinatown seems to see some first-generation U.S. offspring. And when Ben’s celebrated young marriage threatens to crumble in the face of this pressure, it’s up to him to separate his dreams from his father’s, and to find a future for himself and his wife in their new adopted homeland. Directed by Wayne Wang, “Eat a Bowl of Tea” is a charming, warm-hearted film based on the classic underground novel by Louis Chu. (from DVD jacket.) Continue reading

Wayne Wang – The Center of the World (2001)

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Quote:
“Richard, an isolated programmer who made millions with his company, meets a pretty girl in a café. The pretty girl is a drummer; she is also a stripper. Richard wants to live it up and after careful negotiations, takes Florence to Las Vegas for a weekend. He pays her 10,000 dollars and promises to adhere to her conditions, which include no kissing on the mouth, no penetration, and limits their time together to the hours between 10pm and 2am. ” Continue reading

Wayne Wang – Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart (1985)

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Quote:
Smoke and Blue in the Face director Wayne Wang has made his name by making features (Slam Dance excepted) looking at ordinary Americans and revealing their slightly less than ordinary lives. In Dim Sum, he studies the cultural differences between assorted generations of Chinese Americans, a theme picked up again in Eat A Bowl of Tea and The Joy Luck Club. Here, in his home environment, Wang feels comfortable with his subjects and some charming observations about their lives are revealed in an understated but nevertheless engrossing little picture.

Focusing primarily on the subject of family traditions amongst San Franciscan Chinese and the responsibilities of children in caring for their ageing parents, Dim Sum follows the relationship between a very traditional Chinese woman in her 60s and her thirty-something daughter, the mother trying to marry the daughter off. The difference in attitudes between the two provide much of the humour, but there is a greater depth to the emotions as Wang seeks to reconcile his slight tale to the greater picture of the wane of oldfashioned Chinese beliefs. Continue reading

Wayne Wang – Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (2011)

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Synopsis / Plot

In the 19th century in China, two girls named Snow Flower and Lily are bonded together for eternity. They are paired as laotong (in English: old sames) by a matchmaker who is also responsible for arranging their marriages. They are isolated by their families and communicate by writing in a secret language, Nu shu (a historical practice in China in that period).

Meanwhile, in the present day Shanghai, their descendants Sophia and Nina struggle with the intimacy of their own childhood friendship. As teenagers, Sophia and Nina were introduced to the idea of laotong, and they signed a traditional laotong contract. Then, they must understand the story of the ancestral connection, hidden from them in the folds of the antique white silk fan, or lose one another. Continue reading