Chinese Puzzle

Chinese Puzzle (French: Casse-tête chinois) is a 2013 French comedy-drama film written and directed by Cédric Klapisch. It is the third chapter of the Spanish Apartment trilogy, after L'Auberge Espagnole (2002) and Les Poupées russes (Russian Dolls, 2005).

Casse-tête chinois
Casse-tête chinois poster.jpg
Official poster
Directed byCédric Klapisch
Written byCédric Klapisch
Produced byBruno Levy
Buzz Koenig
StarringRomain Duris
Audrey Tautou
Cécile de France
Kelly Reilly
CinematographyNatasha Braier
Edited byAnne-Sophie Bion
Music byChristophe Minck
Kraked Unit
Distributed byStudioCanal
Release date
  • 16 October 2013 (2013-10-16)
Running time
117 minutes
Budget€17.3 million[1]
Box office$17 million[2]


Ten years have passed, and the once happy lovers, Xavier Rousseau (Romain Duris) and Wendy (Kelly Reilly), have split. When she moves with their two children to New York City, he also moves there to be near the children. Wendy now lives with John (Peter Hermann) in a luxury apartment overlooking Central Park. Xavier initially stays with Isabelle (Cécile de France) and Ju (Sandrine Holt), a lesbian couple whose child he fathered, but he soon finds his own apartment above a Chinese bakery where he works on a new novel assisted by brief visions of Arthur Schopenhauer and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.

Having no work visa, Xavier is advised by his lawyer (Jason Kravits) to seek illegal employment and marry for a green card. After saving his taxicab driver from a vicious beating, the driver's grateful Chinese-American family agrees to have Xavier marry one of their relations, Nancy (Li Jun Li), who is amenable and complicit.

His former French girlfriend, Martine (Audrey Tautou), visits him while on a business trip and returns a second time with her own two children on spring break. Xavier and Martine briefly attempt to rekindle their relationship.

The film climaxes when the Immigration and Naturalization Service performs a surprise inspection of Xavier's apartment while Isabelle is using it to cheat on Ju with their babysitter (Flore Bonaventura). Later as Martine is departing for home with her kids, Xavier races on foot to catch her shuttle bus, confess his love, and ask her to stay and live with him. She agrees.

The film concludes with the cast of characters walking in a celebratory parade down a Chinatown street.


Reception and awardsEdit

The film garnered favourable reviews. It scored a 78% 'certified fresh' rating on review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 64 reviews, with a weighted average of 6.52/10. The site's consensus states: "Pleasantly easygoing and consistently funny, Chinese Puzzle offers a suitably endearing conclusion to Cédric Klapisch's Trilogy of Xavier."[3] At Metacritic, it has a score of 64 which is based on 24 critics, indicating "Generally favorable reviews".[4] The film was nominated for the Best Music award at the 39th César Awards,[5] and came second for the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at the 57th San Francisco International Film Festival.


  1. ^ "Les 14 films français qui ont franchi le million d'entrées en 2013". Destination ciné.
  2. ^ "Chinese Puzzle (2014)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  3. ^ "Chinese Puzzle (Casse-tête chinois) (2014)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 10 July 2019.
  4. ^ "Chinese Puzzle reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 10 July 2019.
  5. ^ "Berenice Bejo, Lea Seydoux, Roman Polanski Among France's Cesar Awards Nominees". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 1 February 2014.

External linksEdit