Accompanying the Pixar movie The Incredibles 2 is a short called Bao. It starts, as you can see from the trailer above, when a woman who has just cooked some bao is shocked when one of them comes to life. While we have talked about Russell from Up being Asian American, this short was striking in that in deals directly with issues that Asian Americans and Asian Canadians face.
Bao was created by Domee Shi, who moved from China to Canada when she was two. She joined Pixar as an intern, and eventually pitched the Bao concept and got it made. The mom in Bao was inspired by her own mom and other Chinese women in her life.
I really liked Bao. While I am not of Chinese origin, it spoke to me of my own experiences with food and family. A bao becomes more than just a bun – it becomes a metaphor for many things. I am also around the same age as the mom, making her not just Asian American/Canadian but universal concerns very meaningful to me. So if you go to see The Incredibles 2 (also recommended) and are thinking about getting popcorn when you see Bao come up on the screen, don’t. It will be worth your time, whether you are Asian American, American Canadian, or not.