ART401: Appreciating Far-eastern Cinema
Instructor: Dr. Ritwij Bhowmik
Summer term (May-July 2016)
2nd written assignment
Film name: Jiaozi (Dumplings)
Name: Bhagyesh Ghagi
Roll no.: 12194
Department: Aerospace Engineering
Title: Jiaozi (Dumplings)
Director: Fruit Chan
Release Date: 2004
Country: Hong Kong
Jiaozi (Dumplings) is HK horror film directed by Fruit Chan in 2004. It was first
made as a part of horror film compilation, Threeextremes (2004), where the
other two films were directed by Park Chan-Wook and Miike Takashi. Actress Bai
lung (played Aunt mei) won the Best Supporting Actress Award on 24th Honk-Kong
film Award in 2005 for this film. Due to its popularity Jiaozi was later expanded
and released as an independent feature film. The full length version is bit longer
and different from original short-film version.
Directors Profile: Fruit Chan (1959)
Fruit Chan is an independent Hong-Kong second wave screen writer, film maker
and producer. He was born in Guangdong province (southern China) in 1959.
Later in middle school he got a part time job in a theatre projection room. His first
screening was of traditional Chinese opera directed by John Woo. He learned
script writing and directing at Hong-Kong film cultural center. In 1982 he began
his career as an assistant director to David Lai. In 1994, he collected film material
left over by the other production to begin directing his award winning Made in
Hong Kong. It received many national and international awards. Chan was
influenced by Sixties Japanese (Socialist realist) cinema for the reason they were
not afraid to produce realistic movies that addressed society problem. Nagisa
Oshima was his main inspiration. In his movie reflection of everyday life of Hong
Kong people could be seen. His famous movie Made in Hong Kong (1997) was the
first part of the trilogy about Hong Kong 1997s return to mainland (which also
includes Longest summer (1998) and Little cheung (1999)). He had become the
first film maker to independently work without the big studios. He challenged the
genre of HK films and made realistic film about political and social situations going
on in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong as we know it today was born when Chinas Qing dynasty government
was defeated in First Opium War (1842), and ceded Hong Kong Island to Britain.
However, Hong Kongs history predates the Qing dynasty for more than a
For its earliest days as Britain colony, Hong Kong served as center of international
trade. In the turbulent years of early 20th century, the city population was
bolstered by refugees mostly from China. The arrival of immigrants in large
number helped to launch a new role for Hong Kong as a major manufacturing
hub. On 1 July 1997, Hong Kong became a special administrative region of People
Republic of China. This arrangement allowed Hong Kong to enjoy some
autonomy, including retaining its capitalist system, judiciary, free trade, freedom
H-K Horror genre
The modern Hong Kong horror genre consist of ghosts, monsters, vampires,
maniac killers etc. The main aspect of HK Horror is that often futures chines folk-
lore, myths and traditional legends. Modern supernatural chillers like Horror
hotline: big head monster (2001) and the eye (2002) are mostly modelled on
more popular J-Horror films.
Kate (Mikki Yeung): Teenage patient of Aunt Mei (sitting)
Aunt Mei (Bai Ling): The local chines chef
Mr.Li (Tony leung ka-fai): A wealthy man, Mrs. Lis husband
Mrs. Li (Mirium Yeung): a rich middle aged housewife
Aunt Mei, an immigrant offers dumplings (ingredient human fetuses) to Mrs. Li, a
former TV star, that possess rejuvenating power according to Chinese traditional
beliefs so that Mr. Li could get attracted to the recovered youth of Mrs. Li.
Illegally, Kates fetus was also used by Aunt Mei for Mrs. Lis desire.
As Kate dies its totally satire on Chinese tradition of cannibalism.
Criticism of ancient superstitions in Chinese society:
movie is a satire on Chinese tradition of cannibalism and indicate that its
totally superstition that eating special dumplings made up of human
fetuses by Mrs. Li and Aunt Mei has great effect on regaining youth or
In this movie an element of social defame is attached with the Kate
pregnancy that results in illegal abortion of Kate by Aunt Mei.
Attraction towards and thus rise in cannibalism:
Movie depicts the mentality of upper middle class (Mrs. Li) society of Hong
Kong seeing cannibalism as a perfect way to regain youth and rejuvenation.
Poor social and health care system:
Movie shows through Kate that women are not safe in Hong Kong society.
Poor local health culture (using traditional Chinese method improper and
unsafe abortion etc.)
No proper jurisdiction for social and health care issues like illegal abortion,
selective abortion etc.
Sex selective abortion:
A scene in the movie emphasis on the fact that boy child dont get aborted
in China. It clearly focuses on the selective abortion.
Three women with different face:
Aunt Mei: an independent lady making her livelihood by practicing traditional
Chinese health care system.
Mrs. Li: initially an independent lady then turned in to dependent lady for his
desire for youth and then got addicted for fetuses-filled dumplings.
Kate: helpless victim of society used by everyone to fulfill their desire, oppressed
and unsafe finally she died for a cause created by society (her father, mother,
Aunt Mei, Mrs. Li) as a whole.
Super visual angle and sound effect:
Depicts father (oppressor), mother (lover of daughter), Kate (oppressed) and law
(involvement of Hong Kong government) in one frame with special sound effect.
In an innovative way criticism of traditional Chinese superstition like
cannibalism has been achieved on a great extent.
Newly growing mysterious and ridicules attraction of modern rich middle
class society of Hong Kong towards cannibalism for regaining youth and
rejuvenation for self-use without caring the moral value as a whole.
Kate is a symbol of suffering indicating absence of proper social, political
and economic conditions for society and especially for women as a whole.
Problem of Chinese immigrants northern Chinese cuisine has been
Rich (Mrs Li) oppressor and poor oppressed (Kate) in the society depicts the
unbreakable cycle of society.
References Bhowmik, Ritwij. Hong-Kong Segment: Dumplings (Jiaozi) (2004).
Appreciating Far-Eastern Cinema. IIT Kanpur. Kanpur. June 2016. Lecture.
Wiki:Dumplings(film). 28th June 2016
Liew Kai Khiun Fracturing, Fixing and Healing Bodies in Fruit Chans films
in new cinema :Journal of contemporary film 6:3 (2008) 209-225, Asian
research institute, National university of Singapore.