Eat a Bowl of Tea

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New York, in the late '40s: Ben Loy (Russell Wong) is a loyal Chinese-American son, and when he visits his mother in China after the war, he takes advantage of the recently changed US immigration laws and returns to New York with a wife, Mei Oi (Miao), to live in a closed Chinese community almost entirely made up of men (until the end of the war, America forbade male Asian immigrants to bring wives and daughters with them). Their fathers want the couple to be both prosperous and parents, but Ben Loy works so hard he becomes impotent; meanwhile, understandably bored, Mei Oi encounters temptation in the form of a smooth womaniser. Wang's semi-comic romance is a light-hearted account of the problems faced by young lovers in a displaced and oppressively watchful society. It's a charming rather than probing film, with Wang successfully focusing attention on performances and period atmosphere rather than on moral nuance. Although rather more emotional pain would not have gone amiss, the result is enjoyable, assured and stylish.

Release details

Duration: 103 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Wayne Wang
Screenwriter: Judith Rascoe
Cast: Victor Wong
Russell Wong
Lau Siu Ming
Eric Tsang Chi Wai
Cora Miao
Hui Fun
Wu Ming Yu
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