A bar hostess, fed up with her jealous boyfriend, finds a refuge of sorts with a local gangster. Set as the world rings in a new millennium, this is the story of a young woman whose life is in flux, where even the present is a future past.
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I just re-watched this on a French DVD with a pristine transfer, and it's very clear that I was wrong to dismiss this film a few years ago on a first viewing. It isn't one of Triple H's masterpieces, but the film clearly works. And Shu Qi's long hair is a character in itself and turns in a phenomenal performance. I can definitely envision myself pulling on it from behind. And Shu Qi herself isn't too bad either.
Shifting camera angles and pulsing lights create a hypnotizing, surrealist feel. The long absences in dialogue accentuate the down-and-out mood, but the foreshadowing narration seemed awkward to me and I could never understand Vicky's desire to return to Hao-hao after she had an easy escape. It's too bad Shu qi has to spend so much screen time with Chun-hao Tuan.
Hou's films can be beautiful to look at and hard to follow, so some write him off as a stylist. But that ignores how he uses types of beauty (of Shu Qi, of night club raves, of a Japanese snowfall) to drive and frame the action. Hou was 53 when the film was made, and it's the work of an old soul looking back on a part of life that has only beauty to distract from how miserable it gets. A dream of rebirth.
that thing about the snowman you know, i guess it hits me on the right spot. And how i get her and all her vanities and obsessions. I really liked the art design too and some unconventional shots that turned out beautifully well made.
wonderfully captures the transient purposelessness of youth. narrated by the main character from ten years in the future, rendering time a present that has already past, rich with nostalgia, melancholy and regret, also narrated in the third-person about herself, heightening the sense of a life with no authorial control. "As if under a spell - Or hypnotised.. She couldn't escape." One of my fav films of the noughties.
An eerily evocative atmosphere is drawn via the contrast b/ween hyperactivity and introspection, energy & its absence. As with most HHH, the film gains power in retro-activity. It is a cinema of accumulation wherein each minute piece of the quotidian fails to matter until placed in a rearview amidst all the other pieces. Film as pastiche.
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.
a film i can't get enough of and easily for me his most accessible... HHH's film to me play like Antonioni and Tsai Ming Liang films in the sense where narrative time becomes distorted and truly becomes relative..