Wednesday, June 6, 2007

millennium mambo

Millennium Mambo (Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2001) - 6/10

As she jogs through a blue lit tunnel with a captivating soundtrack playing in the background, the presence of Shu Qi, may compel you from the start. However, it's scenes like this which helps make Millennium Mambo watchable. What this film lacks is any real closure between scenes. Instead, director Hsiao-hsien, crafts his scenes to make them overly long. Characters performing the most mundane actions and daily routines taking up a lot of run time. Three Times, his only other movie I've seen contain elements of this, yet that movie manages to evoke wonder from those scenes. Millennium Mambo, almost feels rugged and raw (yet wonderfully shot), not surprising, considering the content the movie brings. The radiant and bright lights, seen illuminating the screen from Taiwan's underground night life, strikes a balance of tone in colour.

Shu Qi plays Vicky, a women who's life has been torn and somewhat wasted caused by a relationship gone wrong. An abusive, manipulative, and jealous boyfriend, Hao-hao, who deliberately ruined Vicky's education prospects. Fearing she would move on without him, both live together unemployed, and are frequent visitors of a nightclub, and inhabit the world of drugs. The depressing nature of their relationship heightened in a couple scenes, may make it hard to witness for some. Like the way Hao-hao scrutinizes Vicky in an attempt to uncover if she's cheated, by sniffing all over her, with her feeble attempt at annoyance. The anger that may evoke from viewers towards Hao-hao is another strong point the movie delivers.

Narrated by Shu Qi's character herself, in a third person point of view -- 10 years after the fact -- we at least sense some closure and contentment into her distraught life.

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