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Millennium Mambo (2001)

Cast: Shu Qi, Shu Qi, Niu Chen-er, more...
Director: Hou Hsiao-hsien, Hou Hsiao-hsien
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Studio: Palm Pictures
Genre: Drama, Foreign, Taiwan, Coming of Age
Running Time: 105 min.
Languages: Mandarin
Subtitles: English
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Master filmmaker Hou Hsiao-Hsien directs this look at life in modern Taipei, the first part of a planned series. The film opens with a vivacious lass named Vicky (Shu Qi) sauntering down a neon-lit tunnel as the voice-over describes how she is going to break up with her on and off boyfriend Hao Hao once she has spent the NT$500,000 in her bank account. A young free spirit and party girl, she makes a living for both her and Hao Hao (Tuan Chun-hao) by working at a hostess bar. Lazy, neurotic, and pathologically jealous, Hao Hao spends his time DJ-ing and smoking speed when he is not rifling through Vicky's belongings looking for some hint of infidelity. At work, she meets Jack (played by Hou regular Jack Kao), a businessman with strong links to the mafia who nonetheless is kind and nurturing to Vicky. They soon begin an ambiguous affair. This film was screened at the 2001 Cannes and Toronto Film Festivals. ~ Jonathan Crow, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

a special story by pyeung June 1, 2005 - 9:06 AM PDT
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful
There isn't a resolution in this story. I think people intuitively like closure but many things in life are open-ended. Millennium Mambo shows that. The story is about Vicky's journey at a specific moment in time as her narrative tells the course of events that led her from the DJ, to Jack and her visit to Japan with the brothers. The order of scenes appears to be out of place because Vicky jumped from one story to the other, back and forth, like how some people would when they recall parts of their past. She was at a stage where she wanted to enjoy life and have affection with someone regardless of the consequences. The story illustrates her disillusionment with reality and adult responsibilities and her preference for idealism. I think the director downplays the traditional plot with climax and resolution because he wants the audience to forget about what's next, focus on the present and feel what Vicky was experiencing. I really like the sequence when Vicky rode in Jack's roofless car while standing up to feel the moving wind. At that brief moment, she found what she was looking for amidst the chaos in her life. Also, the music and the editing create a dreamlike quality, which is repeated throughout the story. MM is very special to me as it makes me think about how I should value idealism and reality. Also, I like how MM, through Vicky's narrative, does not judge how her idealistic pursuit turns out. While some people look back at their past and evaluate their actions, others like Vicky simply reminisce moments of their past and treasure certain feelings they had.

Beautiful and slow by autarch May 6, 2005 - 12:03 AM PDT
1 out of 4 members found this review helpful
Like many of Hou's movies, there's not a lot of action, nor is there any strong story line. Instead, it's just about a period in some people's lives. This film, like many of his others, features long camera shots, plenty of moments without dialogue, and no resolution.

fyi by WReynolds December 13, 2004 - 9:27 AM PST
0 out of 4 members found this review helpful
Unabashed star vehicle... FYI: DVD is actually only 88 minutes long... not the 105 listed here or the 119 min / 120 min listed on IMDb.

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GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 5.74)
73 Votes
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Cannes Film Festival & More - 2001
Official Selection, Certain Regards... and more. Here is a bit more information on the films screened at the Cannes. I have attempted to list all the films that were considered for an award as well as any special screenings.
Best Current Directors

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