Au Revoir Taipei

Au Revoir Taipei


Reviewed by: Keith Hennessey Brown

Kai (Jack Yao) bids a sad farewell to his girlfriend Faye as she leaves Taipei for Paris.

Determined to rejoin Faye, Kai takes to reading up on French in a local bookstore when not waiting tables at his parent's noodle shop. Faye rarely calls, but bookstore assistant Susie (Amber Kuo) takes an interest – not, however, reciprocated by the still-infatuated Kai.

Copy picture

After Faye dumps him, Kai goes to seek help from gangster turned property spectulator Brother Bao (Frankie Gao). He offers Kai a ticket to Paris in exchange for retrieving and delivering a package one of his henchmen was forced to drop.

Meanwhile Bao’s treacherous nephew Hong (Lawrence Ko) hatches a plan to have his own goons steal the package...

Though perhaps a touch predictable, overly reliant on comic coincidences and slow to get moving, Au Revoir Taipei – a retitling from the original A Page of Taipei, with its allusions to books and Edward Yang's One Night In Taipei, which is also the time-frame here – it is just such a sweet and fun little film that it's hard not to warm to it and be utterly won over by the time its hour and a half is up.

The direction is refreshingly direct and devoid of empty displays of technique; the performances uniformly charming; the characters and situations beautifully observed – Bao has a penchant for watching tacky “heroic bloodshed” type gangster TV shows, for example, while at one point a plain clothes cop is prevented from running after his quarry by an overly officious underground employee – and the use of urban locations nicely integrated into the narrative.

Contrariwise, three brief dance numbers stand out for their joyful absurdity, recalling the 'anything can happen' spirit of those other gangster film cum romantic comedies Bande A Parte and Shoot The Pianist, to which this perhaps represents a contemporary Taiwanese-American reinterpretation.

Reviewed on: 21 Jun 2010
Share this with others on...
Lightweight and funny crime caper about a desperate man trying to score an air fare.
Amazon link

Director: Arvin Chen

Writer: Arvin Chen

Starring: Hsiao-chuan Chang, Amber Kuo, Ko Yu-Luen, Jack Yao

Year: 2010

Runtime: 85 minutes

Country: US, Taiwan


EIFF 2010

Search database: