As part of a new year’s resolution I have decided to actually watch 3 Extremes in its entirety because I only got midway through Cut before I turned it off. Why? Because back then, when I was about 15 or so, I didn’t have the patience for Asian horror movies. So I gave the entire anthology another shot and I really enjoyed it. I loved it so much that I am going to write down my thoughts for each short story per day. That means, today I want to briefly discuss Dumplings, a story that is rather disturbing not only in the sense of what’s in the dumplings but how crazy people are willing to go to obtain youth and beauty.
Without spoiling anything, Dumplings is about a rich woman named Mrs. Li who is loosing her youth and beauty as she ages. She finds out that her husband is having an affair with his younger masseuse so she decides to try to rejuvenate herself. This leads her to Aunt Mei, a young chef who has claimed to have found the secret to eternal youth and beauty. The secret is baked and powdered in the form of delicious dumplings but little does the Mrs. Li realize… that the secret to the dumpling’s revitalizing power is unspeakably dark but even if she knew the secret, would she still want to eat the dumplings?
Personally, as disturbing as the ‘secret ingredient’ is I have to say that it’s even more disturbing that Mrs. Li still continues to eat the dumplings. (Okay, I just answered the question above so it’s not really a cliffhanger but still…). I think that’s what this film is mocking, just how far people are willing to go to try to make themselves look younger and to retain their beauty. It’s true! People are willing to get toxins injecting into their faces, having doctors insert liquid plastic or plastic plates to make their cheeks looks broader, chemical peels and artificial tans… all to look younger. Dumplings perfectly satirizes these people but at the same time makes a point. I think it goes further than that because all the men in this story seem to be only interested in younger women even if it means adultery or underage rape. It’s a grim comedy of replenished youth wrapped up in a nice packaged and delivered in one of the most beautifully shot horror movies I’ve seen.