When a cold hearted telecommunications executive returns to his small island town for his estranged mother's burial, he learns about the true Taiwanese tradition that mandates him to marry ... See full summary »
Set in 1980s Taiwan, after the end of military dictatorship, Monga centers around the troubled lives of five boys coming of age together. The narrator of the story, Mosquito, is invited to ... See full summary »
Three high school students experience the perks and pitfalls of love in director Leste Chen's sensitive tale of friendship and yearning. As a child living in a seaside town in southern ... See full synopsis »
When three rebellious students leave their hometown to pursue their lifelong dreams in the big city, their relationships start to face the pressures of real life as the 1980s Taiwanese ... See full summary »
Bryan Shu-Hao Chang,
Lun Mei Gwei
A delivery Boy falls for a young girl who is hearing impaired. Comparing themselves with "water birds" and trees, together they are going to break the barrier and pursue their dreams and take their relationship to the next level.
When a mysterious death occurs, the lives of five unexpected strangers are suddenly intertwined together. A drug trafficking crime is unveiled, and through the twist and turns of the ... See full summary »
Chen's film will be easily embraced by anyone who demands something different from their usual diet of Western romantic comedies.
Executive-produced by Wim Wenders, the great German director of Paris, Texas (1984), and Wings of Desire (1987), Au Revoir Taipei is an assured-feature length debut from Arvin Chen. Written and directed by Chen himself, the film is an ode to light-hearted, whimsical French romantic comedies, but it is ultimately rooted in the culture that is specific to the filmmaker's own. Is Taipei the new Paris, the city of love? Not yet, but through his two lead characters, Chen suggests it could be so, and it could be now.
Kai (Jack Yao) is the film's protagonist. He longs to be with her girlfriend, Faye, who is now in Paris. He spends many nights at a local bookstore to read a specific guidebook that would teach him French. Susie (Amber Kuo), who works in the bookstore, finds him a lonely sight and tries to talk to him. A few exchanges of nervous glances, and the director has impressively set up a boy-girl tension between the two leads, one that strikes a delicate balance between awkwardness and syrupiness, and of which it remains pleasantly consistent throughout.
Chen adds in a farcical crime attempt that Kai finds himself embroiled in. It not only turns out to be a discreet relationship building experience for Kai and Susie, but a relevant episode in which the lives of colorful, humorous supporting characters converge, creating a narrative platform for Chen to explore the singular theme of "the longing for love". The performances are generally subdued; however, the lack of expressive or emotional dialogue is not a flaw but Chen's way of letting his characters take on a conservative front.
These are characters who are either shy, heartbroken (from a failed romance) or simply clueless. We see their motivations but their actions and responses, which are unbeknownst to them, remain quietly humorous to the viewer. And it is this low-key humor that Chen successfully captures that brings a positive vibe to Au Revoir Taipei. The camera-work is clean and simple because the story is clean and simple. Chen could have employed gimmicky techniques like split-screen or quick cuts to show off his talents, but they are not necessary, and I applaud him for that.
Au Revoir Taipei trades a conventional and overly saccharine romantic fable for something that balances commercial appeal with art-house influences. Accompanied by a breezy though occasionally melancholic score, Chen's film will be easily embraced by anyone who demands something different from their usual diet of Western romantic comedies. This is not true love at first sight, but rather the site of first true love. Enjoy.
SCORE: 8/10 (www.filmnomenon.blogspot.com) All rights reserved!
9 of 12 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?