If I was writing this ten years ago (except for the fact the film didn’t exist until 2004), I could have been very up-to-date by discussing how Dumplings fit into the “culture of disappearance” of the 1997 Handover. (Although Ackbar Abbas actually wrote about the “politics of disappearance” in his book, politics seems to always be what disappears in cultural studies.) And I could go on about how Mei “disappears” back into the Mainland.
Or I could have discussed Hong Kong as an “imagined community,” or China the same way, reminding the reader that nationalism is no longer a hip cultural concept, albeit seemingly still effective for starting wars, ethnic cleansing, and other destructive activities.
Or I could have gone on about Hong Kong’s “post-colonial” status, pleasantly ignoring that the USA is a post-colonial country, and that Hong Kong has never been post-colonial, passing from one nation to another without any independence.
Mei could have been called a “flexible citizen” since she moves back and forth from the PRC to Hong Kong and back again. Or I could have gestured at “cosmopolitics” or “transnationalism.”
And I could structure the whole essay around History and Memory, or Trauma and Amnesia, or Remembering and Forgetting.
I could have. But I was more interested in Fruit Chan’s wicked humor and dark vision of how corrupt capitalist culture is; and how poignant the situation of its victims appears. If Mrs. Li becomes a monster, fitting the common trope of horror films, we still come to understand what made her one, what structural limits pushed her to that state. If Mei is an ethically and morally dubious protagonist, she is still an intriguing one. History moves on, society changes, and she still serves the people: now it’s dumplings.
From the M&C Saatchi website: http://www.mcsaatchi.com/news_article.php?id=26
"KFC has taken the next step in its 'So Real' campaign, hiring independent film director Fruit Chan, known for his cinema verite style, to direct its latest TVC, which partners singer and actress Miriam Yeung with local popstar Justin.
Emily Wong, senior marketing manager of KFC's local franchisee, Birdland, said:
The ad, which was due to break in early May, is the first TVC for KFC from M&C Saatchi since winning the brief earlier this year. Mindshare worked on media for the campaign, while A-World Consulting handled PR. The underlying theme of the ad is that 'the taste of real chicken ignites the real you', while print and outdoor extend the idea of 'igniting the real self'. As part of this, giant digital displays will be put up in KFC's major outlets in the city, where customers can submit what they really want to say and have these phrases posted up on the display."