''Miss Wonton,'' Meng Ong's debut feature, tells the story of Ah Na (Amy Ting), a young woman who emigrates from rural China to New York City, where she finds a job working at a small restaurant near Grand Central Terminal. She shares cramped sleeping quarters upstairs with her co-workers and gravitates to the Golden Palace, a section of the train station where immigrant women gather in the hopes of picking up American men.
The women have culinary classifications associated with their countries of origin -- thus Wonton -- and the men are sorted by economic status, with meatloaf at the bottom and escargot at the top. Ah Na snags an escargot, a middle-aged insurance executive (James Burns) in a suit and tie and, after spending a night at his house in the suburbs, convinces herself that the American dream is within her reach.
Considered objectively, the events in ''Miss Wonton,'' which opens today at Cinema Village (22 East 12th Street, Greenwich Village), have a sad, sleazy quality. But Mr. Ong chooses to present Ah Na's life as a slight, weightless fairy tale, whose most unpleasant details seem to melt away in the face of the character's blank-faced optimism. A number of big, complex issues pile up around her -- AIDS, the sexual and economic exploitation of immigrants, the brutality of Chinese peasant traditions -- but none of them take on much dramatic weight...
Source : nytimes