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少女小漁 (1995)
Siao Yu

Reviewed by: allan
Date: 12/21/1999

Low budget film shot in NY and relating the tale of two (mainland)Chinese immigrants. Gian Wei is here legally to get an education. Siao Yu has followed him and is illegal. Both have jobs - he in the Fish Market, she in a sweatshop. In order to get her a Green Card, Gian Wei sets up a fake wedding (using up all his savings), The prospective bridegroom is Daniel Travanti, a down-on-his-luck writer with gambling debts. She moves in with him in order to fool La Migra. Complications ensue. He is a total caricature out of the 1950's - chain-smoking, sloppy and uses a ancient portable typewriter. His dialog is pure Jack Klugman/Odd Couple school. After an uncomfortable settling-in period, Travanti & his new bride seem to be getting on OK until Mrs. Travanti (Marj Dusay) shows up. She's a jazz-singing, hot-mama from the old school, with a jealous streak a mile wide. Etc, etc, etc. You can guess where the film is going every moment. Siao Yu winds up with new respect for herself at the end. He (Travanti) coughs badly during the entire film (opera buffs take note)! The two Chinese kids are both very good. Production values are nil. Synch sound is irritating and all sets are real locations.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: shelly
Date: 12/09/1999

Not just another Taiwanese green-card movie. Despite the participation of both Ang Lee (producer) and James Schamus, Sylvia Chang manages to avoid the pratfalls of the genre. The relationship that develops between Mario (an aging American writer) and Xiao Yu (recently arrived from China with her boyfriend) seems fresh, honest, and refreshingly free of the cross-cultural hangups that marked films like _The Wedding Banquet_ and _Farewell China_. Ang Lee's work might be more polished, more finely crafted, but Sylvia Chang takes this movie deeper. SIAO YU's emotional sophistication is supported by a fine Taiwanese and American cast. Daniel Travanti gives a nicely nuanced performance (when he doesn't overact), Liu Joyin (aka Rene Lau Yuek-Ying, on the Rock Records home page) makes an impressive debut as Xiao Yu.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: spinali
Date: 12/08/1999
Summary: NULL

Heartfelt but awkward character study that fills the empty moments with lots of scene-mastication. Siao You (Rene Lau) works in a New York sweat shop and needs a green card; moody, middle-aged writer Mario (Daniel Travanti, the most hopeless of hams) has agreed to a paper marriage so that he can payoff a boatload of gambling debts, while her real boyfriend (Geling Yang) becomes a citizen. But when Mario's wife (Mary Dusay), a touring lounge vocalist, enters the picture, it's the start of trouble. Deja vu? Yeah, this brings back memories of at least half a dozen films just like this (and those are just the HK variants). Travanti is maybe the only distinguishing factor here, but director Sylvia Chang gives him enough liberty with the part to hang himself, and he does, along with the movie. Its lukewarm reception at the filmfests consolidated its position as a truly boring flick.


[Reviewed by Steve Spinali]

Reviewer Score: 5