Dumplings – Hong Kong, 2004

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Dumplings (Chinese: 餃子; Pinyin: Jiǎozi; Jyutping: Gaau2zi2) is a 2004 Hong Kong horror film, directed by Fruit Chan (Tales from the Dark 1; The Midnight After). It was expanded from a short segment in the horror compilation, Three… Extremes.

Plot:

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 an 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.

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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…

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Buy Dumplings on Asia Extreme DVD from Amazon.co.uk

Reviews [click links to read more]:

” … it’s still a strange and entertaining little movie. The baby-eating is treated so casually that you almost never really find it as sickening as it really is, which is impressive in a terrible sort of way. And like I said in the review for the short version, it’s nice to see Bai Ling playing someone with a little more depth and realism to her …” Horror Movie a Day

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Dumplings 2004 is brilliant and is the complete opposite of a Hollywood horror film in where order is unsurprisingly restored at the end and patriarchal order is put back into place. Here, an Asian horror film refuses to give the audience a fake, unrealistic and happy ending, instead it is gritty, pulsating and incredibly real.” Daniel Vesey, Looking to the East

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“The psychological horror that Fruit Chan creates with his work goes deep down and seems to be taken right out of the abyss of human soul – a nightmare. Yet, the movie lacks a surprising twist or some nice resolving. You always have the feeling that something will happen, but in fact it somehow doesn’t. Those who made it until the end of the movie, will already have such a twisted brain, that the end is actually in no way surprising.” Asian Movie Web

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Buy Spooky Encounters: A Gwailo’s Guide to Hong Kong Horror from Amazon.co.uk

[Spoiler] “At the end of the film, both Auntie Mei (now displaced from Hong Kong) and Ching are the true survivors, with their trajectory a parodical mirror-image of Hong Kong’s own capitalistic drive. It’s the particular success of Dumplings that Fruit Chan, with a larger budget, higher production values, and a cast of movie stars, has still maintained the incisive social critical stance of his earlier, rougher independent films.” Ian Johnston, Bright Lights Film Journal

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Cast:

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