Tuesday, August 24, 2010

《第36個故事》 Taipei Exchanges

This film is the crystallization of Taipei pretentiousness. It is an empty hollow of a film, pasted over the key tenets of Taipei yuppie culture: owning an independent coffee shop, the "art" of both coffee and tray bakes, travelling the world, a nod to the Japanese colonial period (Kousuke Atari and the book of Japanese songs) and the idea of swapping instead of paying. I was almost surprised they did not throw in a homosexual plot line or two just for good measure.

The film appears to follow on from films like "Somewhere I Have Never Traveled" (《帶我去遠方》) and "The Most Distant Course" (《最遙遠的距離》), but it lacks any of simplicity or ease of these two films, however, it tries to capitalize on this simplicity by posing as the same kind of film, despite it's obvious commercialization of independent film.

Before seeing the film, it had been recommended to me by a friend. He took me to see a new cafe, later telling me that this was the cafe featured in the film. It was not, as it might have seemed, an independent, quirky little cafe, but rather it had been built specifically for the purpose of the film, but had opened for business as a result of the the film's success. The queue to get a seat was about an hour and a half, by which point I had started to thoroughly despise almost all of the sea of patrons. I did not despise them for the wait, but rather for how much they were enjoying the simulated "independence" of the cafe, and how they had trawled through the 38 degrees heat to get here, given its isolated position far from the MRT, but yet were giving off an air of "I just dropped in to this cute little cafe".

The script is not awful, and I laughed at points, but the concept was too conceived, and the characters and plot were mostly flat and uninteresting. There was clearly a marketing poll or a board meeting of some sort behind the generation of this film. What do yuppies from Taipei like?

In Taipei coffee making courses are extremely popular, and this film's rejection of the designs on top of the cream was laughable, in favor of the natural fusion of the cream and the coffee. Laughable because it all seems unimportant, irrelevant and undetectable to my taste buds. Maybe I'm a philistine, so shoot me.

Star Rating: 2/5


  1. Sounds like a pretty lame movie, but I guess it achieved its goal. They marketed the movie to a particular sector, and even made a faux-independent cafe to attract the viewers and further capitalize on the movie's content.

  2. And thus starts the gentrification of Taipei...sigh.