Before devouring the main course that is Incredibles 2, tuck into Bao, the eight-minute short film appetizer that’ll warm hearts and tummies alike.
Cleverly placed before Elastigal’s mum-heroics in the upcoming animated superhero sequel, Bao weaves a culinary fable about a Chinese-Canadian woman who suffers from ‘empty nest syndrome’. When one of her handmade dumplings comes alive, the lonely matriarch pours all her effort into taking care of this little creature. At her second attempt at motherhood, the little dumpling or ‘Bao’, which can mean both ‘steamed bun and ‘treasure’ in Chinese, eventually teaches her a tear-jerking lesson as she watches her sweet baby grow sour.
Helmed by Domee Shi, the first-ever woman to direct a Pixar short, the inspiration for Bao was flavoured by her own childhood. Raised by Chinese immigrant parents, Shi was often treated like a “precious little dumpling” by her parents who would “want to make sure I was safe, that I didn’t go out late, all that stuff.” As parents, we’d definitely be able to relate to the bittersweet feeling of watching our little ones grow up.
Seeing as the short was inspired by her parents, it seems only fitting that Shi’s mum, Ningsha Zhong served as a cultural consultant on the film and even gave hands-on dumpling-making demonstrations which were studied by the animators. No detail was spared, from how Shi’s mum folded the dough, cut each piece and rolled it into the perfect little bun.
Incredibles 2 will be released in cinemas on 21 June 2018. Watch out for the screening of Bao ahead of the film!