Saturday, 12 September 2015

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 276: Sat Oct 3

Millennium Mambo (Hou Hsiao-Hsien, 2001): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 3.30pm



This is part of the Hou Hsiao-Hsien season at BFI Southbank and also screens on 1st October. You can find the full details here.

Time Out review:
Vicky (Shu) came to Taipei as a teenager and lurched into an affair with the ultra-possessive Hao-Hao (Duan), who lived for DJ-ing but thought it would be uncool to play records for a living. She decided she'd leave him when her savings ran out but in the meantime gravitated into the orbit (not the bed) of small-time gangster Jack (Kao), who treated her like a best friend. But when she finally moved into Jack's place, he had a sudden money crisis and disappeared somewhere in Japan. This differs from Hou's earlier accounts of women around male riff-raff (Daughter of the Nile, the present-day parts of Good Men, Good Women) in two striking ways. First, it looks back at the present from a point ten years in the future, rendering it strange and distant. Second, Vicky is seen not as a marginalised onlooker but as a young woman coming into bloom, learning by experience how to build her own identity. The film is a virtual portrait of Shu Qi, in much the way that Godard once made films as pretexts for capturing the moods of Anna Karina. Extremely beautiful, as hypnotic as its trance-techno soundtrack, and (like Flowers of Shanghai) very, very druggy.
Tony Rayns

This is the famous opening scene.

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