Cast: Kim Chew, Laureen Chew, Victor Wong
Official Selection, 1986 Sundance Film Festival
Almost 40 years after its initial release, the gorgeously restored, slyly comedic DIM SUM: A LITTLE BIT OF HEART is pure 2021 gold, reminding us why Wayne Wang is one of Asian America’s most treasured filmmakers. A follow up to his landmark film Chan Is Missing, DIM SUM’s portrait of a small Chinatown family serves utterly affectionate morsels of intergenerational entanglements, while bedeviling identity in ways that remain fresh today.
As a widowed mother heeds a fortune teller and prepares to die, her youngest daughter can’t decide whether to disappoint or satisfy her with a wedding. Both (played by real-life mother and daughter Kim and Laureen Chew) wring their hands imagining the other’s loneliness. Their wisecracking uncle and “other father” (the incomparable Victor Wong) pokes fun, as friends and family move forward without them. While the future holds its breath and is delightfully uncertain, Wang shows the little pangs and pleasures of a close-knit family whose days of entwined living are numbered.
Mischief also reigns over certainty in DIM SUM’s take on being Asian in America. For Wang, Chinese Americanness is as familiar as an oracle and as brand new as a two-year-old. Tender and hilarious, lonely and loving, filled with budding stars (Joan Chen! Cora Miao! Amy Hill!), DIM SUM in 2021 is Wang’s effortless time capsule from the 80s, letting us know: “Everything we need, everything we are, all our multitudes have been here all along.”
Co-Presented by San Diego Chinese Women’s Association, Alliance of Chinese Americans, and House of China.