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Slamdance 2021: “Taipei Suicide Story”


Rating: 4 out of 5.

What can go wrong for someone who decides to end his or her life? Perhaps, all the attempts to change one’s mind ended with no success. And when the time comes, there’s one last chance to stay and give a second chance to life or leave it behind for good.

Set in a suicide hotel in Taipei, Taiwan, the business provides an exquisite service to its customers – to end their life in any way they want. Almost like an execution night, where their demands are fulfilled, one way or another. The rule is strict. No guest should stay another night. Obviously, the ones who die no longer can, but the ones who decide to live must leave immediately. The day appeared normal when an employee broke the news to the receptionist, Zhi-Hao (Tender Huang), that one guest has been in the room for the last five days – alive. The young and shy Jun-ting (Vivian Sung), who is yet to decide whether to live or die.

Zhi-Hao is strict when it comes to explaining the rules of the hotel. The young woman understands that she has one night only to decide for herself to continue with her life or end it. One way or another, she cannot stay another night. The receptionist felt he was mean to her, and offers his sincere apology to her. However, as they begin to interact more, he breaks the hotel’s most important rule by letting himself be emotional and caring towards someone who may die overnight.

From writer/director KEFF, “Taipei Suicide Story” is more like a long short film that is shorter than a full feature film. Either way, it perfectly unfolds the story leaving no gaps whatsoever except for heartbreak you will feel throughout the film. Whether it’s the writing, direction or the performance, the film subtly explores the theme of suicide without showing the actual act.

Everything happens behind the scenes. All that we are offered is two people who must learn a lot about each other and reveal enough information to proceed with the night accordingly. It’s just a matter of mornings when the crew finishes up bagging the bodies, conduct the Buddhist ceremony, clean up the room and have it ready for another guest. But will room 602, where Jun-ting stayed needs to be cleaned up in the morning or will she change her mind and leave the hotel alive? I won’t reveal the conclusion and I hope you will get the chance to find it out yourself.

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