Friday, July 06, 2007

Qianxi Manbo (Millennium Mambo)


This is my third Hou Hsiao Hsien movie and seems that I been seeing his movies in descending order as first I saw 2005 Three Times, then 2003 Café Lumière and now 2001 Millennium Mambo. Have to say that the three movies seem to me quite different one from the other, which is outstanding for one and only one director.

Millenium Mambo is more an experience than a film, with vibrant colors, chill-out techno electronic music and a main character that is only there for you to absorb her beauty and vacuity.

The bare story is just a pretext for the study of a then (2000) modern girl who seems to lack purpose in life… a portrait of a generation presented without any judgmental angle. Then time is of no consequence as the tale is told by Vicky as an 11 years old flashback with her voiceover telling a particular incident that precedes the scenes, so you know what is coming next and consequently, diminishing the value of the narrative to allow the value of the senses experience.

So I believe that this movie is mostly a movie for the senses and it never allows the audience to go deeper into the story or the characters; it stays on the glossy surface of its superficial life. All this done with the slow pace that allows you to feel everything and pay attention to every single detail in this mostly indoors film.

As someone said, the film has an erotic dimension without ever showing any skin… as you clearly understand that all those guys -and maybe even you- are falling for her; however she just keeps following her instincts, most of the time unfocused and headed in the wrong direction.

Not all of what the viewer may experience will be pleasant and then, since is an experience film, whatever the viewer relates to his/her personal life or frame of reference will influence the like or dislike of what they see.

Nominated for the Golden Palm in the 2001 Cannes Film Festival, the movie won six awards and has three other nominations in European and Asian festivals and awards.

Very interesting movie that absolutely is not for all audiences, not even for those that like art or art house movies. If you have an idea of what a 60’s “Happening” is… then perhaps you will like this movie.

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