Yu Ming Is Ainm Dom is a short film about dreams versus reality. On one level it’s about a young Chinese man, seeking an escape from his humdrum life by learning a new language and travelling half-way across the world to build a new life, along with the difficulties and miscommunications he encounters along the way. On another level it’s about the dreams of a young nation and the practical difficulties of making those real in this modern globalised world.
The film gently lampoons the attitudes of both Irish people – whether they speak Irish or not – and visitors to Ireland, towards the Irish language and it’s status within society and culture. But it’s not a film without teeth, it just keeps them below the surface, but stronger you feel about minority languages, the clearer they are to see.
Some of the best short films I’ve seen in and about any of the minority languages of these islands have been funny ones. (It would arguably make a sweeter, gentler companion piece to 2004’s Fluent Dysphasia.) After all it’s the wry smile to disguise the real pain below it, that saves any story about minority languages from being merely bitter, rather than bittersweet.
It’s only thirteen minutes long, but it packs a lot of feeling into it’s short running time.