Three Extremes

Japanese horror trilogy. Two of the stories were just too esoteric for me to appreciate. One on the damages of incest that was a Kabuki like drama, and the other was a killer who traps a movie director but I wasn’t sure what it was all about. But the first one, called Dumplings was the most incredible film about abortion that I have ever seen. I am reminded of A Modest Proposal, a satire by Jonathan Swift written in 1729. Here is it’s full title: “A Modest Proposal: For Preventing The Children of Poor People in Ireland From Being a burden to Their Parents or Country, and For Making Them Beneficial to The Public.” Swift was a Christian man whose satire addressed the English attitude toward the Irish with biting sarcasm. Dumplings is a Chinese “Modest Proposal.” It is the story of a woman in China who sells a special meal of dumplings to Chinese women who are seeking to revitalize their youthfulness. The dumplings are in fact made from chopped up aborted fetuses. This film portrays abortion as the cannibalization of the young, for the benefit and convenience of older women. The woman in the story is trying to win back the love of her husband who is seeking younger women for his pleasure. At first, she has a hard time eating the dumplings, swallowing them with difficulty, but after a few times, it becomes a delicacy to her. And then she wants a more potent version of the food, so she gets a late term abortion of a little boy, to which we are shown the abortion and how the young girl dies from the secret abortion she receives from the dumpling woman. But the filmmakers are not arguing to make abortion illegal because of the “back alley” consequences, but rather they are saying that the abortion industry is cannibalistic. And finally, though the woman is past childbearing age, the unholy concoction works and she conceives a child. But in the end, she is so consumed by her selfish pursuit, that she commits her own abortion and eats her own child. It is a truly gruesome in concept, but a very poignant and biblical kind of prophecy, something Jeremiah or Isaiah might proclaim to our modern culture of death.