A2P Cinema 100 Films of the Aughts
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MILLENNIUM MAMBO
2001 - Hou Hsiao-hsien - Taiwan / France
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Taiwan master (arguably one of the greatest active filmmakers in world cinema) Hou Hsiao-Hsien's 2001 Millennium Mambo is a beautifully compelling and compassionate. From the very opening (and intriguing) voice-over narration, the film lures the viewer into its emotions and images, but it does so at a distance from the viewer which leaves for a unique experience. The film follows a nonlinear narrative and is made rather simplistically. However, like many of Hou's films, Millennium Mambo is one that contains many layers, meanings and depths. Millennium Mambo is a look into the youth of modern-day Taiwan, yet remains a deeply universal examination of the fateful circumstances of a young girls life. Hou captures the emotions through a dazzling visual atmosphere. Techno-music, video games, television, cell phones are always present on screen to capture the "quick-access" way of modern-day living. The cinematography is stunningly composed of bright neon colors. Shu Qi is a dream as Vicky!! Aside from being in every scene (usually smoking many, many cigarettes) she gives the character a sympathetic connection with the viewer. There are many themes and mysteries to the film that are quite wonderful to experience. On an emotional level, I felt more detached watching this then I have with any other Hou film, but he brings you in through the visuals and the loveliness of Shu Qi, and ultimatly the dettachment of the filmmaking is what makes this effective as a haunting reflection of time. This is indeed transcendent cinema!
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