Hong Kong. A voice off-camera looks back ten years to 2001, when Vicky was in an on-again off-again relationship with Hao-Hao. She’s young, lovely, and aimless. He’s a slacker. Cigarettes and alcohol fuel her nights. We see bits of her life: when Hao-Hao steals his father’s Rolex and the police detain them; when she gets a job as a club hostess, where she meets Jack, who becomes her patron and protector; when Hao-Hao comes to the club, insisting on talking to her; when she visits Yubari, Japan, for its film festival in the dead of winter; when Jack must go to Japan to straighten out trouble caused by one of his acolytes. Does Vicky have any expectations? Does time simply pass? —IMDb
Director Hou Hsiao Hsien, in a 1988 New York Film Festival World Critics Poll, was voted one of three directors who would most likely shape cinema in the coming decades. He has since become one of the most respected, influential directors working in cinema today. In spite of his international renown, his films have focused exclusively on his native Taiwan, offering finely textured human dramas that deal with the subtleties of family relationships against the backdrop of the island’s turbulent, often bloody history. All of his movies deal in some manner with questions of personal and national identity, particularly, “What does it mean to be Taiwanese?” In a country that has been colonized first by the Japanese and then by Chiang Kai-Shek’s repressive Nationalist Government, this question is pregnant with political connotations.
Hou was born to a member of the Hakka ethnic minority in southern Guangdong province in mainland China, but his parents emigrated to Kaohsiung, Taiwan… read more
A heady, intoxicated portrait of youth like Good Men, Good Women or Goodbye South, Goodbye, with the hedonism newly embedded in the millennial milieu. If it feels empty, that’s only relative to the depiction, in which even then, a cohesion, and even tenderness, is observed in its languorous alienation and relationship decay, which if anything are made all the more immediate by its transient textures - though textures as much reliant on the radiance of Shu Qi, and her own head-spinning presence.
From the opening scenes of Millennium Mambo, Vicky walks through Hong Kong's sultry night, blue-cigarette smoke curling in the humid air. The soundtrack scored by Taiwanese techno DJ Liem Giong clues viewers in to the film's pulsing nocturnal ambience. Hou Hsiao-Hsien's explorations of youth and amour fou (Three Times and Goodbye, South, Goodbye) resonate with Millennium Mambo's nicotine-stained vibrancy and style.