Director: Fruit Chan/Park Chan-Wook/Takashi
Starring: Miriam Yeung, Bai Ling, Tony Ka-Fai
Leung, Lee Byung-Hun, Lim Won-Hee, Gang Hye-Jun, Kyoko Hasegawa,
Released By: Warner Bros Singapore
Rating: R21 (Disturbing Content)
Date: 9 September 2004
(Courtesy from Warner Bros) :
Segment: "Dumplings". No woman can possibly resist
the token of rejuvenation - flip over its dreamy blissful
side and you will find an expansive nightmare of endless pursue.
But Qing can afford it all. An ex-starlet turned wife of a
prominent rich man, Qing is destined to have this dream come
uses a lot of muscles before she can get to the mysterious
chef Mei to provide her specialty dumplings. Qing is no gourmet
but simply dying for resuming her youth and beauty when at
stake is her lifetime career as a housewife of the filthy
rich. And Mei's dumplings claim to deliver just that. Mei,
a former gynecologist, developed a secret recipe for rejuvenation
which has allowed her to bid farewell to her abortion career.
Now Mei only serves desperate rich women like Qing. Mei understands
a woman's need and she can fulfill a woman's desire -- all
you need is a leap of faith taking a bite into the dumplings
with human fetus fillings...
Segment: "Cut". RYU Ji-Ho is a successful film director
who has earned wide and solid support from audience and critics
back-to-back. Wealthy, respected, talented, happily-married,
good-looking and also kind in nature -- everything about Ryu
is the definition of Mr. Perfect… that is, until he
comes home one day after finishing a shoot and encounters
a complete stranger.
stranger is indeed a male extra whom Ryu has never paid attention
to and probably no one else ever did. Madly envious of the
director's good fortune, the man is here to destroy. He has
brought along a child and taken Ryu's pianist wife hostage.
And now he offers Ryu two choices: to kill the child or to
watch his wife's fingers being cut off -- one after another.
Either way, Ryu's life would never be the same again. Tormented
by the horns of a dilemma, the people in the house cannot
but fall preys to the madman's monstrosity -- which gradually
proves itself a contagious one…
Segment: "Box". Kyoko is a successful novelist and
a renowned beauty, yet she confines herself to a solitary
life behind a veil of secrecy. She has ambivalent feelings
towards her editor who is obviously infatuated with her. Kyoko,
however, is not in a position to open her heart to her editor...
or to anyone.
all begins with a traumatic experience in her childhood that
has remained unspoken. At the tender age of ten, Kyoko accidentally
caused her twin sister Shoko -- a rival for the affection
of their surrogate father Hikita -- to be burned to death.
Stricken by grieve, Hikita vanished shortly afterwards. Kyoko
has been haunted by the memory of her twin since and she has
devoted her life to the search of Hikita whom her editor incidentally
shares a spitting image with. Kyoko is uncontrollably attracted
to the likeness at the same time terrorized by it - is there
something beyond pure coincidence?
day, Kyoko finds on her desk a bouquet of flowers accompanied
by an invitation card. The card indicates only the venue and
the time of a meeting -- the place is where her sister died...
This new Asian horror anthology movie, in which 3 directors
from 3 different countries craft their individual tales unrelated
to the other 2. Without any constant theme or narrative style,
each director films the three segments with their distinctly
the First Segment
this segment reminds me of the circus “Cirque Du Solei”
with it interesting costumes makeup and the lovely pair of
young contortionists. However it’s a mini circus gone
tragically wrong as jealousy causes an accident that will
haunt the life of novelist Kyoko.
parts of this segment showcased a face covered with long hair:
an eerie kid standing at the dark corner. These parts look
awfully similar to so many of the recent Japanese horror flicks
that it has started to feel like nothing out of the ordinary.
Takashi Miike didn’t take this segment to the gruesome
extreme as he did before with “Audition” or “Ichi
the Killer”. Instead he weaved a dreamlike story with
recurring nightmares of a beautiful snow-filled landscape
that seemingly leads to nowhere.
with Fetus Fillings sound like a dish to go side by side with
the Human Meat Cha Siew Bao. It’s official now that
we Chinese will eat anything that can move. In this segment,
Hong Kong director Fruit Chan treats us with the weird and
“wonderful” delicacies that promise to rejuvenate
one’s youth. Unfamiliar with this non-mainstream director’s
previous work, he did reasonably well in creating a believable
world where one would do anything for vanity.
was supposed to be actress Miriam Yeung breakthrough role
from her comedic acting career but the limelight was definitely
stolen by supporting actress Bai Ling. It has been entertaining
watching Bai Ling cook up a storm as the unapologetic cook
who does the appalling acts of serving fetus dumplings to
the rich Tai Tais for the sake of beauty and youth.
the Last segment
a dilemma this last segment presents: kill an innocent kid
that you don’t know or watch your pianist wife have
her fingers cut off one by one. The stand off between the
good-hearted director and the disgruntled film extra was quite
engaging as it infused dark humor with philosophy and wanton
violence. This segment showcased the ugliness of jealousy;
trust in relationship and the fight to survive.
could easily be the most satisfying segment of all the three
segments. However any serious movies buff would be able to
pick out how Director Park Chan Wook copied David Fincher's
films: from the characters’ dialogue to the nifty camera
view zooming thru areas that are normally inaccessible for
a normal camera and even right down to the prop used in Se7en.
But if you leave that aside, the viewing for this segment
would be whole lot more enjoyable.
One weak spot in this film is that it has failed to hit the
scary meter mark to attract the horror film junkies. Yet on
another hand, the horrifying factor is strong enough to deter
the squeamish folks from watching this film. Another aspect
of this film is that it does not resolve nor explain some
issues of the film. Viewers must be able to interpret and
draw their own conclusion for this artistic film.
this film is marketed as a horror film, this film is really
an artistic film with slight touches of horror. Instead of
pushing the edges of fears and terrors, this film dwells on
the disturbing emotions that rely on the audience’s
sympathy for the characters. Overall, the film serves as an
interesting Asian version of Twilight Zone. It might fail
to pour heart-pounding fear in you but there will be moments
when you might want to cover your eyes or look away.
Movie Rating: C- 2.5 Boxes / Dumplings / Fingers out
by Richard Lim Jr