Bao – Short Film Review

Food is a lot more than something we consume in order to get some energy. Food has emotion. For anyone who ever tucks into a big tub of ice cream the minute they get sad or rages into a plate of noodles, you’ll know that feelings are tied up within breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

So much more than this is tradition and family. Heritage and togetherness are flavours that spice up this meals. Recipes that are passed down through generations and are gobbled over dinner tables. Holidays such as Christmas revolves around plates filled with love and care as children flock back to the nest or build new ones for those before. Food is everything to our cultures and our relationships which is why Pixar’s latest short Bao is so important.

Bao is a short film about a woman who’s baozi comes to life when her husband is at work. Raising the dumping as her own, she watches the little food child evolve into a dumpling adult. Despite their closeness at the beginning, she soon realises that they are growing apart and might take drastic measures to prevent that.

Directed by Domnee Shi, this film is such a treat. It is an intimate look at how Bao folds into this masterful piece of a little story. It’s an inventive tale about a mother whose poured so many different ingredients but feels hurt when her son wants doesn’t want to be on the plate anymore (does that analogy work?) Set to an impressive score, this tiny short is moulded into delicious sentimental journey on parenthood and heritage.

Bao is definitely a brilliant highlight of Chinese-Canadian culture. It explores how a Western upbringing with expat parents can shape who you are and how conflict can even be resolved with food. It’s a detailed exploration of the intimacies that our dinners can bring and how we can be defined by our parents and food.

Domnee Shi’s work is a love song to how a parents love is kneaded into our meals.

Watch Bao before Incredibles 2, out from Friday. 

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