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1,490 Ratings

Millennium Mambo

Qian xi man po

Directed by Hou Hsiao-hsien
Taiwan, France, 2001


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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Millennium Mambo Directed by Hou Hsiao-hsien
Hou is in the company of Maurice Pialat or Béla Tarr: he sets up a scene not in order to transform it, but to contemplate and study it, to slowly unfold its levels and implications. Like a master chef, he stirs in the ingredients, the background information, the poetic motifs, the signs of historical and narrative context. It is up to us, as spectators or analysts, to intuit and draw out all these elements.
June 13, 2015
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Millennium Mambo is a film of the future, set in a past that is the contemporary viewer’s present, and Mark Lee Ping-bin’s cinematography unfurls in a blur of motion and color that clarifies only ephemeral emotions, like the reflecting of a blinking yellow light that hovers over two people making love, or Jack’s tinted windshield illuminated a second at a time by tunnel lights, throwing the sight of Vicky sleeping on his shoulder into fleeting chiaroscuro.
April 30, 2015
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A circuitous and depressing film by the Taiwanese master Hou Hsiao-hsien, Millennium Mambo takes place in 2001, but, as the exhausted-sounding female narrator tells us, the events in the film happened “ten years ago”, giving a sheen of nostalgia and loss to the proceedings that is hard to pinpoint. Mark Li Ping-bin shot the film, and its visuals are the most striking thing about it. The story is barely there, really, the story is not the point. It’s about a mood, a time, a vibe, a Taipei vibe.
December 17, 2014
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