Disney Pixar released the short trailer and first glimpse of its much-awaited short film ‘Bao‘, made by Chinese-Canadian director Domee Shi, the animation giant’s first female director of an animated short, BBC News reported.
The story is simple and sweet: an aging and lonely Chinese mother, suffering from an empty nest syndrome, receives an unexpected second chance at motherhood when her homemade dumpling comes to life.
The veteran storyboard artist describes her culinary fable as a “magical, modern-day fairy tale, kind of like a Chinese Gingerbread Man story”.
“It explores the ups and downs of the parent-child relationship through the colourful, rich and tasty lens of the Chinese immigrant community in Canada,” Pixar said in an official statement.
“Mom excitedly welcomes this new bundle of joy into her life. But Dumpling starts growing up fast and she must come to the bittersweet revelation that nothing stays cute and small forever.”
Shi’s mother, a Chinese-Canadian immigrant, also served as a “cultural consultant” on the film. Her dumpling-making skills were put to superb use, ensuring that the movie’s animated dumpling-making scenes were as accurate as possible.
— Disney•Pixar (@DisneyPixar) April 12, 2018
Pixar short films generate the same buzz as their feature-length offerings and they are pored over in great detail, sometimes proving controversial.
Lava, the short that was screened before the blockbuster Inside Out, told the tale of a male and female volcano somewhere in the Pacific that fall in love. Many viewers spoke out dismissing the storyline, but its gender representation and even its geological integrity came under fire. Its latest feature animation Coco was also closely examined after years of cartoon stereotypes of Mexicans and Mexican culture.
The question of representation of Asian talent in the entertainment industry has also been a major concern for many. Hollywood has been accused of failing to offer roles to Asian or Asian American actors, even when the part is an Asian character, the so-called “whitewashing” of Hollywood.
The first glimpse of the trailer on social media generated an overwhelming expression of joy mainly because this was made by an Asian woman, the first to direct for Pixar.
“Very excited for this short because it’s coming from Pixar’s first female Asian director. I can tell that it will be very emotional. Can’t wait,” said a fan wrote.
“Two of my favourite things, baos and babies,” wrote another.