All in The Families

At first glance, they seem from another world, these harbingers of a new Chinese-American cinema. With their glimpses of swirling silks, their rapid clatter of languages, their arranged marriages, fatal renunciations, invocations of ghosts and ancestors, aphorisms straight out of a fortune cookie from one of the better Chinese restaurants, The Joy Luck Club and The Wedding Banquet look beautifully alien. But this is all a trick, to entice you with a vision of novelty. The Western viewer shortly, delightedly, discovers tales of universal savor and significance. Only the garnish is regional.

Like the Amy Tan novel, Wayne Wang's film of...

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