In 19th-century China, seven year old girls Snow Flower and Lily are matched as laotong – or “old sames” – bound together for eternity. Isolated by their families, they furtively communicate by taking turns writing in a secret language, nu shu, between the folds of a white silk fan. In a parallel story in present day Shanghai, the laotong’s descendants, Nina and Sophia, struggle to maintain the intimacy of their own childhood friendship in the face of demanding careers, complicated love lives, and a relentlessly evolving Shanghai. Drawing on the lessons of the past, the two modern women must understand the story of their ancestral connection, hidden from them in the folds of the antique white silk fan, or risk losing one another forever. –Fox Searchlight
Born in Hong Kong and based in America, director Wayne Wang studied photography, film, TV and painting in the US before landing several directorial assignments in his homeland (these included the Chinese episodes of Robert Clouse’s “The Golden Needles” in 1974 and a popular TV show based on “All in the Family”). He returned to the US and scraped together $22,000 to complete “Chan is Missing” (1982), a hip, Zen-inspired San Francisco detective story which also carefully dissected prevailing Oriental stereotypes. This landmark independent film became a critical and commercial success for its rare, authentic slice of Asian-American life in a sometimes wildly comic narrative that straddled genres. The film remains an inspirational touchstone for Asian-American filmmakers attempting to get their voices heard in the American cinema.
Wang’s second film, “Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart” (1984), again centered on San Francisco’s Chinese-American community. The film playfully yet poignantly… read more