Dumplings intrigued me as soon as I saw it’s DVD cover when browsing the world cinema section in my local HMV. I love the my obscure films and it’s description in the back left me even more intrigued than the cover itself. I promise you when I say the description and the DVD cover gives nothing away about the film. The film itself….was not what I was expecting.
Release Date: 2004
Director: Fruit Chan
Screen Writer: Pik Wah Lee
Actors: Bai Ling (Mei, the cook)
Miriam Chin Wah Yeung (Mrs Li)
Tony Ka Fei Leung ( Mr Li)
Dumplings centers around an ageing actress who wishes to reclaim her youth and rejuvenate herself to bring back the passion in her marriage with her horrid husband (who, unbeknownst to her, is having an affair with his much younger masseuse). On her quest, she finds Aunt Mei, who is a cook famous for her dumplings which has a rejuvenating affect. However they contain one gruesome ingredient…
Now I feel I should inform that there are two versions of this film out there. There is the 90 minute version and the 45 minute which part of the ‘Three Extremes’ film. I’ve seen both and can easily say they’re both great films to watch. Both films are like a Goosebumps book, you have the same basic plot but they go in different directions depending on which one and which direction you chose however both still has the message on obsession, vanity and those bloody dumplings!
This is definitely not for the squeamish, and most certainly not for sensitive souls. Personally I loved the film!! If a film that is meant to set out to disturb me disturbs me – then it impresses me. It’s one of those films that Hollywood will definitely not remake. This film goes far beyond the point of being shocking for the sake of being shocking. Thanks to the amazing acting, and the beautiful cinematography, amazing camera angles and vivid colours you become engrossed, forgetting that your watch a very sick film. Even after you find out what the secret ingredient is, the director and screen writer make sure the film and it shock factor does not come to a stand still, in both versions of the film.
What I love about this film is that it doesn’t side track from it’s message and what the film is based on which is to explore how far some of us would go to achieve something we really really want, in the case of this film, how far Mrs Li will go to stay young and beautiful. I don’t want you guys to think this is one of those gory horror films that has come out of Asia. There is nothing gory about this film but it is a very disturbing and the subject matter may be slightly triggering. However, I do recommend it very much!! Nothing will disturb you more, and captivate you just as much.
One thing I found really annoying or off -putting about this film was the eating noises. The eating noises were made louder than most background music and it really got my nerves, however I think this is a personal issue since I hate the sound of eating at the best of times (I nearly hurled my trainer at a girl in the gym for eating her banana, and she wasn’t even eating that loudly).
Score: 9/10 – Just watch it. That’s all I have to say.