Sunday, July 17, 2005


Our first festival outing had a definite "ick" factor, which wasn't all to do with the film. The woman next to us kicked over her beer, which she had left on the floor, shortly after she arrived. The usher, who came to mop up the mess, commented cheerfully that she had cleaned up much worse - film patrons seem to have a tendency to vomit, and if its a late night showing, wet their seats. This could make a person resolve only to watch movies on DVD in the comfort of their own homes, but since we've paid for all our tickets we will just have to soldier on, bravely. I'm wondering about suggesting a pocket in the seat in front of you for sick bags and absorbent cloths - and maybe disposable seat covers. Anyhow, back to the film.

Dumplings is not for the faint-hearted, or people who think that cannibalism is not suitable material for a movie. I liked it more than other films that have touched on this topic - for example "Titus" and "The Cook,the thief, his wife and her lover". It had quite a high walk-out rate - about 10 people left during the film. It had definite overtones of the TV programme Fear Factor where the contestants have to eat repulsive things to try and win $100,000 but the characters in the film weren't after money. They wanted less achievable things like fecundity and eternal youth. For a Hong Kong movie it had a remarkably coherent plot, and was a rather sad little story which gave you plenty to think about afterwards.

Anne's rating: 3/5 Ian's rating: 3/5

1 comment:

  1. My idea of a Hong Kong movie is of a martial arts movie with amazing fight scenes and stunt sequences, an incomprehensible plot and dodgy acting (and subtitles). Of course this could be due to seeing most of my Hong Kong movies curtesy of the Incredibly Strange Film Festival. Two movies I have seen this year are dispelling this stereotype. The first was the very up to date cop movie "Breaking News" which has a bunch of political messages about media image and media manipulation and how they affect people and organisations. The second is "Dumplings" which one could sum up as "The Picture of Dorian Grey" made in the style of Tampopo and served with lashings of Fear Factor. (Not that I have read Oscar Wilde). The plot, acting, camera work and directing are excellent. This film might almost be worth seeing as an example of how to make a striking movie.
    The concept of staying young by eating something that is hard to get hold of is not novel, the unsophisticated taking advantage of the depravity of the more sophisticated is an old idea and an anti-abortion message is not new. But the combination is startling. This is a sick, sick, slick movie with nasty people doing evil and sick things with aplomb, that will only appeal to completely unfazable movie goers with cast iron stomachs and an unpleasant sense of humour they are embarrassed to admit to.