ART401 written assignment 2

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  • ART401: Appreciating Far-eastern Cinema

    Instructor: Dr. Ritwij Bhowmik

    Summer term (May-July 2016)

    2nd written assignment

    Film name: Jiaozi (Dumplings)

    Student information:

    Name: Bhagyesh Ghagi

    Roll no.: 12194

    Department: Aerospace Engineering


  • Movie details

    Title: Jiaozi (Dumplings)

    Director: Fruit Chan

    Release Date: 2004

    Country: Hong Kong

    Language: Cantonese

  • Introduction

    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.

  • Historical context

    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

    thousand years.

    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

    of speech.

  • 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.

  • Story Summary

    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.

  • Critical analysis

    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.

  • Conclusion

    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.


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