30 yr old Geraldine still lives with her mother, whose other children have all left home but whose friend, Uncle Tam drops round quite frequently.
At one point during Wayne Wang’s Dim Sum, a pair of obviously American shoes is left outside the door of a traditional Chinese household. This image is as emblematic to Wang’s career as the bicycle flying over the moon is to Steven Spielberg’s, summing up his fascination with the culture clash between American and Chinese cultures, and showcasing his skill at lucid observation.
A forgotten figure of the US indie explosion of the ’80s — his compadres Spike Lee and Jim Jarmusch are still relevant — Wang’s absence from the film scene is highlighted by the re-issue of two of his best, most personal flicks.1985’s Dim Sum, perfectly subtitled A Little Bit Of Heart, is archetypal Wang. Gently interweaving the lives of three characters: sweet 60 year-old widow Mrs. Tam (Kim Chew), whose children have mostly flown the nest; Geraldine (Laureen Chew), the last remaining daughter, who’s 30 but refuses to leave her mother; and jolly Uncle Tam (Victor Wong), a bartender with designs on Mrs. Tam. Not a lot actually happens, but the film is the textbook definition of situation-comedy, closely observed humour arising from the stuff of everyday lives. It also ends on a beautifully judged note of bittersweet balance.
Beautifully observed little Indie that deserves more attention with this re-release.