Synopsis by Jason Buchanan
Writer/director David Kaplan offers a new spin on the familiar Cinderella story with this visually inventive tale of a hopeful Chinese immigrant who discovers that life in New York City isn't for the faint of heart after being forced to work in a shady massage partner. Shot on video and subsequently rotoscoped to take on a slightly surreal look, Year of the Fish opens to find wide-eyed Chinese immigrant Ye Xian (An Nguyen) arriving in New York City in hopes of raising some money to send back to her ailing father overseas. Soon falling into the neon-lit lair of "massage parlor" madame Mrs. Su (Tsai Chin), Ye is forced to do all of the cooking and cleaning after refusing to service her clientele as instructed. All the while, Ye's only sense of solace comes thanks to a growing fish bestowed upon her by a mysterious hunchback named Auntie Yaga (Randall Duk Kim). Meanwhile, Ye longs to catch the eye of kindhearted jazz musician Johnny (Ken Leung) while fending off unwanted advances of Mrs. Su's depraved and persistent son. Just when it begins to seem as if Ye's situation cannot get any more grim, a lavish party staged to celebrate the Chinese New Year leads to a most unanticipated turn of events.