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Friday, September 17, 2004

Dave Andrusko of the National Right to Life Committee has weighed in on two films from the recent Venice Film Festival that have abortion themes.

Dave describes both films as "pro-abortion." I don't think that's accurate in the case of Todd Solondz's film, Palindromes. It's an actress, Ellen Barkin, speaking for herself in real life, who is pro-abortion. In the film, the pro-abortion mother of the 12-year-old protagonist is portrayed quite unsympathetically, and the abortionist in the film botches the abortion to the extent that Aviva has an involuntary hysterectomy. It's true that at least one fundamentalist Christian in the movie--the one who decides to kill Aviva's abortionist--is portrayed unsympathetically. That doesn't make the movie "pro-abortion".

Dave's review of the other abortion-themed movie screened in Venice, Vera Drake, is here.

Meanwhile, Dave's reviews alerted me to a third movie from the Venice Film Festival with an abortion theme, Dumplings.

Dumplings is in the middle of a triplet of short films collectively called Three Extremes. This is the basic plot:

No woman can possibly resist the token of rejuvenation – flip over its dreamy blissful side and you will find an expansive nightmare of endless pursue. But Qing can afford it all. An ex-starlet turned wife of a prominent rich man, Qing is destined to have this dream come true. Qing uses a lot of muscles before she can get to the mysterious chef Mei to provide her specialty dumplings. Qing is no gourmet but simply dying for resuming her youth and beauty when at stake is her lifetime career as a housewife of the filthy rich. And Mei’s dumplings claim to deliver just that. Mei, a former gynecologist, developed a secret recipe for rejuvenation which has allowed her to bid farewell to her abortion career. Now Mei only serves desperate rich women like Qing. Mei understands a woman’s need and she can fulfill a woman’s desire -- all you need is a leap of faith taking a bite into the dumplings with human fetus fillings...

Interestingly, an actress in Dumplings who portrays a 16-year-old getting an abortion developed bulimia afterward. (Scroll way down).

This film takes a profoundly dim view of abortion, metaphorically equating it with cannibalism. So of the three abortion-themed movies seen in Venice, Vera Drake arguably presents a pro-abortion message, Palindromes a mixed message (although I think it might be most accurate to say that it is anti-abortion and anti-fundamentalism), and Dumplings presents abortion and abortionists as moral horrors.

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