Tuesday, March 28, 2006

unwanted pregnancy and Fruit Chan's Dumplings (2004)

Last week in the TV studio they were shooting a P.S.A. on adoption. They brought a dumpster and a ton of trash into the studio to make it look like an alley. In the shoot a girl drops a newborn, actually a baby doll, into the dumpster. Everyone on was talking about how horrible killing babies (in the 1st 75 hours of life) is, but seriously, in this academic setting, you know that most of these people would think it was fine if the baby was terminated prior to birth. I would get into abortion arguments, like I did in my review for The Unborn, which is not something I'm even going to link back to now, though it's in the archives if you really want to search. It's not my fight. It is a subject I find fascinating.

In fairness, a lot of pro choicers are against partial birth abortion which accounts for the difference between a small fetus and a newborn. The full version of Dumplings includes 2 partial birth abortions. I don't know if this is a new Lion's Gate version of 3 Extremes or not, but the version I rented included the Dumplings short in 3 Extremes and a second disc that features the entire Dumplings movie. The short plays like a 'best of Dumplings' and is worth watching because it has a different ending than the feature, but after you've watched the full version you will see that the 3 Extremes version is totally butchered. Watch the full versions for more characters, more backstory (we find out that the dumpling maker (Bai Ling) was a former abortionist in China), and yes, more gruesome shots.

Serious moral depravity here, I liked Dumplings more than the shorts from Chan-wook Park and Takashi Miike. Everyone is evil, vain, or has a price. I like how in the full version the male is just as bad or worse than his former movie star wife. Leading to his eventual desire for the fountain of youth is the foreshadowing where we witness his fondness for eating fertilized hard boiled eggs, with partially developed chicks inside. What I'm saying is, don't eat those fucking things, you weirdos!

Fruit Chan, from Hong Kong, is the relative unknown among the 3 Extremes directors, but he is not unknown anymore. I must say the visually this film is gorgeous. In fact everything on the 3 Extremes discs looks amazing. The Chan-wook Park short is faster paced and flashier than his Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance. It is much like the final showdown in Oldboy, but I'd say it lacks the impact because it does not have as strong characters as did those two full length films. Takashi Miike's piece is strange and slow, reminding me of the 1964 Japanese horror anthology, Kwaidan. It is beautiful and has a ghost scene that will appeal to casual fans of Japanese horror.

Cub, you laugh now, but won't you be looking for some dumplings ten years down the road?

Oh no! Ten years down the road it will be time. Quick, let's start looking for a dumpling maker now so I can preserve the youth.

Will you say you were sorry for making fun of me when I got squeamish? It was that scene on the bus, when the guy in white pants sat in the pool of blood from the girl's abortion. How sick was that?

Ha ha. You totally got squeamish during that bus scene,the both times we watched it. I loved that part! It was great! Sorry? Cub I must have you see it again!

The version in 3 Extremes was a mess, I'm glad you made me watch the full version on Disc 2, good thinking Cub.

I knew the full length would certainly be worth watching cause there was so much being left out in the shortened version, and I knew it would be some of the juicy details, so yes I am glad we saw it. I loved this movie. Great pick!


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