I had the pleasure of attending the Vancouver Asian Film Festival tonight. The feature movie I caught was Au Revoir Taipei, the Canadian premiere of a 2010 Taiwanese movie written and directed by Arvin Chen. This movie has won awards at the Berlin International Film Festival, Deauville Asian Film Festival (France), San Francisco Asian American Film Festival, Barcelona Asian Film Festival, and the Asian Film Festival in Dallas.
|Image courtesy of Wikipedia|
A quirky romantic comedy, this movie is more comedy than romance. The movie starts off with the heart-broken Kai, longing to find a way to travel to Paris to chase after his girlfriend. Kai thinks there’s nothing left for him in Taipei, and his life and happiness is in Paris. He spends his days learning French at a local bookstore and happens to meet Susie, who happens to show interest in Kai. Since Kai cannot afford to go to Paris, he approaches Brother Bao, a neighborhood gangster and real estate boss, for help. Brother Bao is a romantic and willing to help Kai by lending him money to go to Paris. However, in return, Kai has to pick up a package for Brother Bao the night before he leaves for Paris. That evening, Kai ends up being chased by police officers and a group of wanna-be gangsters. He ends up running into Susie, and they spend the evening’s adventure together . Kai’s friend, Gao, gets pulled into the chaos, but by the end of the movie is a breakthrough character that provides comic relief.
The conclusion to the movie is quite predictable for a romantic comedy. I will not ruin it for those who would like to see it. A recognizable actress in the movie was the lead, Amber Kuo, who plays Susie. She starred in a popular Taiwanese TV show in 2008 opposite famous Taiwanese actor Nicholas Teo called Invincible Shan Bao Mei. However many other actors in the movie I was not too familiar with.
This movie kept me laughing, through Gao’s calm and expressionless attitude when he gets kidnapped, the fumbling dumbfounded wanna-be gangsters, and Brother Bao’s romance rants and addiction to Taiwanese soap operas. This movie makes you realize you can create your own adventures in a city like Taipei and find romance without having to go to the city of love.