perché c'è qualcosa.
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.
An eerily accurate emotional portrait of Gen X burnout creeping into millennial angst. No Facebook or texting yet, but the feeling of being trapped within a flashy neon world, where privacy erodes faster than the wetlands as the things that keep us in touch also don't give us a moment's peace. Hou's camera so rarely cuts where I think it will, yet the new placement always makes a kind of geometric sense. Lovely.
Like Ozu, a film content to sit there and seemingly watch the world pass by. Unlike Ozu, I can't see any real human insight or drive to this film.
On my fourth viewing it seems to me to be his best movie. Probably my all-time favourite cinematography.