KBT Presents: DUMPLINGS
This film started out as one of three shorts in an Asian director anthology called Three Extremes. Fruit Chan's short film stood along side artistic genre-mashers Takashi Miike (Audition, Ichi the Killer) and Chan-wook Park (JSA, Oldboy). It being the best of the three, Chan made it into a feature film, and brought along superstar cinematographer Chris Doyle (Hero, In the Mood for Love) for the ride. The result is a visually stunning take on the age-old quest for eternal youth, paired with the twin sins of envy and vanity.
A woman is losing the attentions of her rich husband and seeks a solution from another woman whose dumplings are said to be 'therapeutic.' With unnatural youth of course comes a price, nothing so blasé as damnation, but more a look into the mirror of ones own lack of character for going to these lengths for personal ego and conceit.
The movie takes a fascinating look at Chinese myths of miracle potions and the odd little delicacies consumed to increase virility. But there is more to it than that. A woman's connection to her self-image and it being tied to self-worth are contrasted against a variety of maternal instincts (creating) and human desires (consuming).
As mentioned above, the original anthology was titled Three Extremes, and for good reason. There is some disturbing imagery here. You may never eat a Chinese dumpling again after watching this film. It dwells deep in the dark and primal depths of human need, its rich visual palette lulling a false sense of security when the movie pounces with well timed intense imagery. The film is not for the faint of heart, but at the same time, to write it off as pure genre is a mistake as well. Dumplings is edgy piece of entertainment with an eye for colour, and a mind for delicate subtext with I assure you, will never see an american remake.
Come out at 8:15pm for Dumpl...well maybe not...perhaps a glass of white wine. Showtime at 8:30pm.