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Film Review: Taipei Suicide Story
by Karen Pecota

Filmmaker KEFF is a Taiwanese-American multidisciplinary artist based in New York and Taipei. Known for his specialty as an open-format DJ and producer, KEFF also takes pride in his work as a screenwriter and film director. His short feature Taipei Suicide Story won three awards at the 2021 Slamdance Film Festival: The Grand Jury Prize, Narrative Feature; Audience Award, Narrative Feature, with the Acting Award presented to Tender Huang.

An awkward and uncomfortable subject matter KEFF slowly draws his audience into his storytelling of people in crisis and one way a culture deals with suicide and depression. KEFF says, "As a society we are desensitized to these topics and depicts a lack of humanity." KEFF describes it like this, "Two guys are at a bar and in conversation, one says, 'I just cannot live with people who want to kill themselves.' " The other responds, "I know how you feel. I feel bad for them, but it's not my problem." KEFF is stuck by this attitude and wonders how one becomes insensitive, especially toward those who are hurting emotionally.

I cannot imagine such a place exists to service society but if it does, KEFF's character study opens one's eyes and heart to those who contemplate the choice to take their life over living their life.


The workers at a suicide hotel in Taipei, Taiwan, routinely welcome their guests but do not get involved with their business because it is personal as to why they register and in due time they will take their life to exit a very different way than they came into the hotel.

The hotel receptionist (Huang Teng-te "Tender") welcomes a female guest (Yun-Hua "Vivian"). The two strike up a friendship over the 24- hour period at the hotel in which she is registered to stay. The receptionist and the female guest get caught up in her dilemma of whether she wants to live or die. Obviously, the receptionist promotes living but is sympathetic to her suicidal thoughts. Over time a decision is made but by what means to its end? And, why?