Dumplings (film)

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Dumplings (Gaau ji)
Dumplings (film).jpg
Directed by Fruit Chan
Produced by Peter Chan,
Eric Tsang
Written by Lilian Lee
Starring Miriam Yeung
Tony Leung Ka Fai
Bai Ling
Pauline Lau
Mi Mi Lee
Miki Yeung
Music by Chan Kwong-wing
Cinematography Christopher Doyle
Edited by Fruit Chan (as Sam-Fat Tin),
Chan Ki-hop
Production
  company
Applause Pictures Ltd.
Distributed by e-m-s the DVD-Company (Germany)
Release date(s)
Running time 91 min
Country Hong Kong
Language Cantonese
Mandarin
Mei's Hong Kong apartment is located within Shek Kip Mei Estate. Block 40, demolished in 2007, is featured in the film.
Kate lives with her parents in Lai Tak Tsuen. The building void appears in the film.
MacDonnell Road Station of the Peak Tram appears in a scene of the film, when Mrs Li and Mei walk up the hill towards Mrs. Li's house.

Dumplings (Chinese: 餃子; Pinyin: Jiǎozi; Jyutping: Gaau2zi2) is a 2004 Hong Kong horror film, directed by Fruit Chan. It was expanded from a short segment in the horror compilation, Three... Extremes. The film is rated as Category III in Hong Kong.[1] It premiered in Germany during the Berlin International Film Festival, on 4 August 2005, as part of the Panorama section.[2]

Plot summary[edit]

A rich woman and former actress named Mrs. Li is losing her good looks and longs for passion with her husband, who is revealed to be having a love affair with his younger and more attractive masseuse. In order to boost her image, she seeks the help of Aunt Mei, a local chef. Mei cooks her some special dumplings which she claims to be effective for rejuvenation. From the very beginning, Mrs. Li was aware that Mei used unborn fetuses "imported" from the abortion clinic in Shenzhen, where Mei used to work. She keeps seeking more potent remedies, until one day she is in luck: Mei had just performed a black market abortion on a girl five months pregnant (Kate) who has been impregnated by her father. After Mrs. Li sneaks a look in the kitchen and sees the fetus, she is initially disgusted and runs away, but later comes back. Mei makes the fetus into dumplings, which Mrs. Li devours. This has a wondrous effect on her libido as she goes into the hospital and has sex with her husband.

In a short flash-back, Kate and her mother are seen riding a bus home after the abortion. After getting off, the girl collapses on the side-walk. With no one around, the mother can only watch as her daughter slips into unconsciousness. Muttering her last words, "I don't want to die..." she dies soon afterwards, presumably from a ruptured uterus.

Mrs. Li hosts a dinner party for her friends, who compliment her and wonder about her newly found beauty and youth. When she joins them, they claim there is a horrid fish-like smell in the air, which turns out to be from Mrs. Li herself. She excuses herself from the table and runs to the bath-tub. Furious with Mei, Mrs. Li calls her, demanding to know what she has ingested. Mei merely claims that an inbred child is the most potent. Curious at what his wife is yelling about, Mr. Li gets on the other line and overhears the conversation between her and Mei about what happened, and pays the latter a visit, inquiring into whether it really works. Mr. Li eats one of her dumplings and has violent sex with Mei, whom he finds out to be sixty-four years old, but with a form like a slender thirty-year-old woman. She attributes her looks to her cannibalism.

Soon, Mrs. Li realizes that she can not stay young without eating Mei's dumplings. Ignorant of her husband's love affair with Mei, she pleads with her to continue to find her the most potent ingredients for the dumplings and promises to pay her handsomely. Presumably a mistress of Mr. Li at that point, Mei ignores Mrs. Li's plea and tears her check into pieces.

The next morning, police officers arrive at an apartment, where they find the mother, crying, bloodied and clenching a knife. Upset about her daughter's death, she has stabbed her incestuous husband nearly to death. It is implied that upon finding the wife and the dead husband, the police find out Mei's identity and raid her apartment. Mei, how ever, has already fled. It is revealed that Mr. Li has impregnated his masseuse. When Mrs. Li catches word of this, she tracks down the pregnant masseuse, planning on having her abort the fetus. Although the young masseuse is comfortable with her pregnancy and wishes to have the child, Mrs. Li convinces her to have it aborted in exchange for a large sum of money. Mrs. Li insists to the doctor that the baby should come out alive. Mrs. Li then takes the fetus and turns it into dumplings, ingesting her husband's child. Mei, on the other end, ends up selling dumplings on the streets in Shenzhen.

Differences from the version in Three... Extremes[edit]

Whereas the extended version retains much of the plot from the short film in Three... Extremes, the endings differ. The short film focuses solely on Mrs. Li's quest for rejuvenated youth and does not include the masseuse or the subplot involving Mr. Li and Aunt Mei's love affair. Consequently, in place of the masseuse's pregnancy, Mrs Li finds that she herself is two months pregnant with a child she was told she would never have. After learning she can no longer get dumplings from Aunt Mei, she decides to do something drastic in order to keep her youthful looks. The final scene is of Mrs. Li, in the bath-tub where she has just aborted her own fetus, licking blood from her cheek, having eaten her own child.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Filming locations include Shek Kip Mei Estate, before redevelopment, and Lai Tak Tsuen.[3]

Awards[edit]

Bai Ling won the award of Best Supporting Actress at the 24th Hong Kong Film Awards in 2005.

References[edit]

External links[edit]