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 dates
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]

Mrs Li, a former actress, is losing her good looks and longs for passion with her wealthy 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. After Mrs Li sneaks a look in the kitchen and sees a foetus being used as an ingredient within her next meal on her visits, she is initially disgusted and runs away, but later comes back. Mei tells her that the secret ingredient for her rejuvenating dumplings is unborn foetuses imported from an abortion clinic in Shenzhen, where she used to work. Mrs Li asks her to keep finding more potent remedies, until one day she is in luck: Mei had just performed a black market abortion on Kate, a girl five months pregnant who has been impregnated by her father. Mei makes the foetus 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, who has recently injured his leg.

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

Mrs Li hosts a dinner party for her friends, who compliment her and wonder about her newfound 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 bathtub. Furious with Mei, Mrs Li calls her, demanding to know what she has ingested. Mei merely claims that a child conceived by way of incest 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 to find out if her special dumplings really work. Mr Li eats one of the dumplings and has violent sex with Mei. After seeing an old poster of her, he is shocked to learn that she is actually in her 60s but has managed to preserve her physical appearance as a woman in her early 30s. Although she attributes her looks to her cannibalism, the revelation does not stop Mr Li from continuing to have sex with her.

Soon, Mrs Li realises that she can not stay young without eating Mei's dumplings. Ignorant of her husband's affair with Mei, she pleads with Mei 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 this point in time, Mei ignores Mrs Li's plea and tears her cheque into pieces.

The next morning, police officers arrive at an apartment, where they find Kate's mother, crying, bloodied and clenching a knife. Upset about her daughter's death, she has stabbed her incestuous husband to death. It is implied that upon finding Kate's mother and her dead husband, the police find out Mei's identity and raid her apartment. Mei, however, has already fled. It is revealed that Mr Li has impregnated his masseuse. When Mrs Li finds out, she tracks down the pregnant masseuse and offers to pay her if she aborts the foetus immediately. The masseuse reluctantly accepts. Mrs Li insists to the doctor that the foetus should come out alive. She then takes the foetus, makes dumplings out of it, and ingests her husband's unborn 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 Mei's 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 Mei, she decides to do something drastic in order to keep her youthful looks. The final scene is of Mrs Li, in the bathtub where she has just aborted her own foetus, licking blood from her cheek, having devoured 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]