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By Ellen Marshall | July 15, 2004

Written and directed by Victor Quinaz, “Chinese Dream” is about a young Chinese man Bo, who is stuck in an indentured servitude role as a dishwasher in a restaurant. He shared a tiny apartment above the restaurant with 2 co-workers, and dreams of going to New York City.

When the boss asks what he can get for the 3 men in his employ, the other 2 demand cigarettes, while Bo shyly asks for a book about New York City. His mates tease him about his foolish obsession, but we see him in a cramped space behind the restaurant, absorbing the images in the book, a square slice of sky above him. Eventually, Bo works up the nerve to ask his boss to help him go to New York, because it’s his dream. This doesn’t go down well with the boss man, who feels he’s being betrayed for keeping Bo in a flat, a job, and a paycheck…Bo OWES him! Bo backs down, feeling crushed. As he leaves, to wander down a dark alley, he suddenly emerges on a busy New York city street, with neon signs glowing & taxis rushing by. He kisses the ground, his dream has come true, even if it’s only in his mind.

The film was shot on 16 MM, entirely in New York City, and really captures the essence, and moodiness of each environment that Bo inhabits. There’s a great super-fast sequence showing Bo working through seemingly endless piles of dishes. This is a great little film, which garnered Best Short awards at the 2004 San Francisco International Film Festival, the 2004 Ashland Independent Film Festival, and the 2004 Gen Art Miami Film Festival.

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