Movie: Taipei Exchanges
Director: Ya-Chuan Hsiao
Writer: Ya-Chuan Hsiao
Producer: Jui-Lan Hsaio, Ya-Chuan Hsiao
Taipei Exchanges is a cute little film directed and written by Ya-chuan Hsiao. The story follows Doris and her sister, Joise, from the creation of their coffee shop to present day. Although the idea of opening a small coffee shop is Doris’ dream, she soon comes to the realization that reaching her goals is a lot harder than it seems. With Taipei having many coffee shops throughout the city, Doris’ shop begins to suffer. Her sister comes up with a plan when one of their clients asks for a Thai cookbook in the coffee shop that isn’t for sale. Instead of tagging a price on the item, Joise decides that she will give the book in exchange for something else. Since Doris needs her plumbing fixed, Joise gives the man who wants the cook book a proposition: Fix the pipes and the book is yours. The man happens to have a brother that can fix the problem, so the first exchange is made.
Throughout the movie, various exchanges are made. Whether it be physical items or a story, people find ways of exchanging one thing for another. Doris soon begins to hear fascinating tales of the world outside of Taipei, which she has never ventured to. These images begin to conflict with her current dream of running her coffee shop and she begins to wonder what else she could do with her life. At the same time, her mother is reluctant to allow her daughters to follow their dreams because she thinks they seem less practical and more childish. With this in mind, she constantly lectures the two sisters and tries to thwart their overall goals and aspirations by guiding them toward what she feels is in their best interests, although the interests of the mother might not actually be what is best for her two daughters.
Taipei Exchanges, like I mentioned before, is a cute film that isn’t trying to be anything spectacular, but still manages to allow the viewer to reflect on the emotions the cast is going through and to sympathize and feel the exchanges that are being made. Doris, played by Lunmei Kwai, is delightful and as cute as always. Her sister, Joise, played by Zaizai Lin, is a great match with Lunmei Kwai, making the film a lot more entertaining and flow smoothly.
With all this in mind, Taipei Exchanges, is nothing other than a film about acquiring one’s dreams and figuring out what one really wants in order to gain their goals. However, sacrifices must always be made in order to reach what one desires, and each person handles their life differently.
If you like easy-going films that have a message within them that might be lost within a much larger film, then Taipei Exchanges is a film that is a must see, for it is nothing more than a brilliant little spectacle of human life that only makes you smile in the end.
Cast: Lunmei Kwai, Zaizai Lin, Han Chang, Chen-Xi Lin