Incredibles 2 is without a doubt the most anticipated animated film this summer. Nevertheless, before audiences watch the Parr family save the world again, they will see a short film starring none other than the unique Chinese cuisine – Baozi (steamed bun), as is reported by Entertainment Weekly.
Titled Bao, the seven-and-a-half-minute short film centers on a Chinese-Canadian woman suffering from empty nest syndrome. Suddenly, one of her homemade dumplings springs to life giving her a second chance at motherhood. “It’s kind of like a Chinese Gingerbread Man Story.” describes Domee Shi, the director of Bao, and Pixar’s first female short director.
Image via NBC
If your breath was taken away by the exquisite special effects in Coco, you won’t be disappointed by Bao. The animators went to great lengths to make the food in the film look appealing and appetizing; so far as to hire Shi’s mother as the cultural consultant on the movie. She demonstrated her dumpling-making skill to the crew members so they could reproduce the process with as much detail as possible.
Of course, Shi’s mother’s involvement in the film doesn’t end there. The movie’s plot is loosely based on Shi’s upbringing as the only child of Chinese immigrants. As Shi recalls to NBC, when she was a child, her mom would treat her like a precious little dumpling, incessantly making sure she was safe and sound. This may also explain why the short is named Bao, which means both steam bun and treasure in Chinese.
Image via Pixar
Both Shi and Becky Neiman-Cobb, the producer of the film, hope the cultural authenticity and the depiction of a parent-child relationship will resonate with Asian and immigrant audiences. “Non-immigrant audiences can find something they can identify with as well,” Shi tells NBC.
Over the years, Hollywood has been attempting to awe the Chinese film market by adding dispensable Chinese characters (Kong: Skull Island, Pacific Rim Uprising). However, instead of scratching the surface, the best way to make Chinese audiences relate to a film is to touch upon the cultural core of their existence.
As the lead-in for Incredibles 2, Bao will premiere on June 15, 2018.
[Title Image via Pixar]