Food on Film: Dumplings

16 Jan

I first saw this movie at the ICA in London and by the end of the screening I wasn’t the only member of the audience left cowering low in my seat. Dumplings – a Hong Kong horror film directed in 2004 by Fruit Chan – shows a lady of a certain age, Mrs Li, a fading beauty whose husband desires more tender flesh, and her encounter with Aunt Mei: purveyor of some very strange dumplings. The dumplings contain foetuses and Aunt Mei promises that they have restorative effects, that they will keep her young and command her husband’s affection. But the film, utterly shocking and graphic, shows the consequences of this unusual fare. Whilst repulsive – and quite visceral at times – the film focusses in a very heightened way on the act of consumption.  The scenes where Mrs Li noisily devours her dumplings are etched in my mind. It might make you think twice before ordering second-portions next time you head out for dim sum…

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