receiving praise for its adorable animation, funny scenes, and heartwarming plot.ixar’s much anticipated and long-awaited sequel, Incredibles 2, includes a special short that is likely to hit home for a lot of Chinese and Asian viewers. Written and directed by Domee Shi, the short, titled Bao, plays before the showing of the main film. Shi is the first female director to direct a Pixar short film. Her first work is already
Bao follows the story of an empty-nester Chinese mother who, during a lonely night, makes a batch of homemade baozi. One of these delectable dumplings magically comes to life. Overcome by its cuteness and innocence the mother decides to take care of it, giving herself a second chance at motherhood.
Although the short is only eight minutes long, this coming of age story is sure to make you laugh, feel all fuzzy inside, and maybe make you look at your mom in a different light, imparting the wisdom that in developing your own independence and identity, you shouldn’t forget about your familial and cultural roots.
“I hope audiences take away how relationships, like between a parent and child, will change over time. It’ll be different, but it will be just as meaningful and loving and powerful,” Shi told Good Morning America in an interview.
According to the Daily Beast, Shi and her team spent countless hours researching the most accurate way to convey their story that pays homage to Chinese culture and the experience of Chinese immigrants.
For the short’s overall conception, Shi drew inspiration heavily from her own life, her mother, and from her idol, Studio Ghibli’s legendary director Isao Takahata. Scenes of the film’s mother making baozi and cooking traditional Chinese food, as well as the decorations in the house, like the traditional bowls and Chinese calendar, are examples of Shi showcasing her culture, heritage, and family.
Shi, who moved to Toronto from China at the age of two, earned an internship at Pixar right after college. In seven years, she’s established herself as an extremely talented storyboard artist. She’s worked on films like Inside Out, The Good Dinosaur, and Incredibles 2. With her first short film completed and already receiving praise from critics and audiences, we may well see her directing a feature film in the future.
Over the years, Disney Pixar’s animated films have been steadily gaining popularity in China. Although they have yet to best the success of Disney’s Zootopia, Pixar’s previous film, Coco, was a surprise hit in China, raking in $189 million at the Chinese box office, a record for the company.
When The Incredibles was released in mainland China back in 2005, the film only managed to gross about $2.4 million in the country. But, of course, quite a lot has changed in the past 13 years. With the help of Bao, Pixar looks set for a record-breaking release when their newest movie hits Chinese theaters on Friday.