Married to a wealthy businessman (Tony Leung), the ex starlet Qing (Miriam Yeung) is obsessed with retaining her youthful looks. When she hears of the mysterious rejuvenation powers of the dumplings made by the former gynecologist/abortionist turned specialty chef Mei (Ling Bai), Qing does everything she can to meet Mei, and buy her dumplings, whose contents betray Mei's former profession.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
With Lillian Lee's fevered imagination (she also wrote the chapter which Fruit Chan directed for the horror triptych, Three ... Extremes), and Fruit Chan's love of the unusual, Dumplings has all the elements to make your skin crawl. The original title, Gaau ji, is the entrée you order in Chinese restaurants, but after seeing this film, you'll no doubt surreptitiously check its contents before biting into it.
The story relies on its two central characters, the client and the supplier, and both have to have enough motivation to carry this off. And they do. The former starlet, still childless, would gradually diminish in her rich catch husband's eyes as she passed from nubile and mobile to nanny and matronly, while the former abortionist can demand much higher prices for his simple dumplings than her secret abortions.
The rich and famous have always been prepared to go to extremes for their looks and if this story were set in Hollywood, it would be entirely credible. The satirical edge to the film is perhaps not as well drawn out as I might have liked, but the creepy premise makes for riveting, if macabre, cinema.
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(Hong Kong, 2004)
CAST: Ling Bai, Pauline Lau, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Meme Tian, Miriam Yeung Chin Wah, Miki Yeung
PRODUCER: Peter Chan
DIRECTOR: Fruit Chan
SCRIPT: Lilian Lee
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Christopher Doyle
EDITOR: Fruit Chan, Ki-hop Chan, Sam-Fat Tin
MUSIC: Kwong Wing Chan
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Chung Man Yee
RUNNING TIME: 91 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Accent
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: October 5, 2006 (Sydney)