7.1/10
3,991
27 user 46 critic

Millennium Mambo (2001)

Qianxi mànbo (original title)
Trailer
2:00 | Trailer

On Disc

at Amazon

The ethereally beautiful Vicky recalls her romances with Hao Hao and Jack in the neon-lit clubs of Taipei.

Director:

Hsiao-Hsien Hou

Writer:

T'ien-wen Chu
6 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Three Times (2005)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Three stories set in three times, 1911, 1966 and 2005. Two actors play the two main characters in each story.

Director: Hsiao-Hsien Hou
Stars: Qi Shu, Chen Chang, Fang Mei
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The story revolves around Yoko Inoue, a pregnant woman in search for a cafe that's frequented by a Taiwanese composer whose life she is researching.

Director: Hsiao-Hsien Hou
Stars: Yo Hitoto, Tadanobu Asano, Masato Hagiwara
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

In the "flower houses" (upscale brothels) of Shanghai, various interweaving stories of love, loyalty, and deceit play out subtly.

Director: Hsiao-Hsien Hou
Stars: Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Michiko Hada, Michelle Reis
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A glimpse at the lives of two petty criminals in Taipei.

Director: Hsiao-Hsien Hou
Stars: Jieh-Wen King, Kuei-Ying Hsu, Annie Shizuka Inoh
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Intended as the concluding film in the trilogy on the modern history of Taiwan began with Beiqing Chengshi (1989), this film reveals the story through three levels: a film within a film as ... See full summary »

Director: Hsiao-Hsien Hou
Stars: Annie Shizuka Inoh, Giong Lim, Jack Kao
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The semi-autobiographical film on director Hou Hsiao-Hsien's childhood and adolescence, when he was growing up in Taiwan, living through the deaths of his father, mother and grandmother.

Director: Hsiao-Hsien Hou
Stars: Chia-bao Chang, Neng Chang, Chih-Chen Chen
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A young couple leave their mining town home for Taipei where they struggle to eke out a living in an industrial wasteland.

Director: Hsiao-Hsien Hou
Stars: Shu-Fang Chen, Shu-Fen Hsin, Lawrence Ko
Biography | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Puppeteer Li Tian-lu tells his life story, and through it, the story of Taiwan in the first half of the 20th century.

Director: Hsiao-Hsien Hou
Stars: Tien-Lu Li, Giong Lim, Kuei-Chung Cheng
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The eldest daughter of a broken and troubled family works to keep the family together and look after her younger siblings, who are slipping into a life of crime.

Director: Hsiao-Hsien Hou
Stars: Lin Yang, Jack Kao, Shu-Fang Chen
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A beautiful, historical film based upon the complex lives of four brothers.

Director: Hsiao-Hsien Hou
Stars: Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Shu-Fen Hsin, Sung Young Chen
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Ah-Ching and his friends have just finished school in their island fishing village, and now spend most of their time drinking and fighting. Three of them decide to go to the port city of ... See full summary »

Director: Hsiao-Hsien Hou
Stars: Chun-Fang Chang, Shih Chang, Doze Niu
The Assassin (2015)
Action | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A female assassin receives a dangerous mission to kill a political leader in eighth-century China.

Director: Hsiao-Hsien Hou
Stars: Qi Shu, Chen Chang, Yun Zhou
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
Qi Shu ... Vicky
Jack Kao ... Jack
Chun-hao Tuan ... Hao-Hao
Jun Takeuchi Jun Takeuchi ... Jun
Ko Takeuchi Ko Takeuchi ... Ko
Doze Niu ... Doze (as Chen-er Niu)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Pauline Chan
Yi-Hsuan Chen Yi-Hsuan Chen ... Xuan
Hui-ni Hsu Hui-ni Hsu ... Cat
Rio Peng
Edit

Storyline

Taipei. A voice off-camera looks back ten years to 2000, when Vicky was in an on-again off-again relationship with Hao-Hao. She's young, lovely, and aimless. He's a slacker. Cigarettes and alcohol fuel her nights. We see bits of her life: when Hao-Hao steals his father's Rolex and the police detain them; when she gets a job as a club hostess, where she meets Jack, who becomes her patron and protector; when Hao-Hao comes to the club, insisting on talking to her; when she visits Yubari, Japan, for its film festival in the dead of winter; when Jack must go to Japan to straighten out trouble caused by one of his acolytes. Does Vicky have any expectations? Does time simply pass? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Aisareru isshun ga watashi no subete ni naru [Japan]

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, drug content and some sexuality | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Océan Films (French)

Country:

Taiwan | France

Language:

Mandarin

Release Date:

31 October 2001 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Millennium Mambo See more »

Filming Locations:

Taiwan

Edit

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,427, 9 January 2004, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$14,809, 18 January 2004
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (edited) | (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Mambo means 'conversations with Gods' in Kikango. See more »

Alternate Versions

The version screened at the Cannes International Film Festival ran 119 minutes. Hsiao-Hsien Hou then re-cut the movie following its Cannes premiere and reduced the running time to 105 minutes. Most of the deleted footage came from the "Vicky in Japan" sequences and is included as an extra on most DVD releases. See more »

Connections

References Violent City (1970) See more »

Soundtracks

Medicine for healthy people
Written by Giong Lim
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Are you willing to do the work?
26 August 2004 | by FilmSnobbySee all my reviews

Apparently, the major critics were not willing. Hou Hsiao-hsien is no longer the Flavor of the Month, if the reception given to *Millennium Mambo* is any guide. Hou may no longer be trendy, but his latest film remains a masterpiece -- just another notch on the Master's belt. The critics castigated Hou for wasting our collective time with a movie about a party girl; simultaneously, they praised the juvenile *Kill Bill* to the skies. The critic for the New York Times essentially declared that the artistry in the movie wasn't worth it. The critic was "bored" by the artistry.

Meanwhile, those of us who are NOT bored by Hou's artistry may enjoy a feast of it in this edgy, profoundly sad movie. It's set in Taipei in 2001, though the narrating heroine "Vicky" (a gorgeous Shu Qi) speaks to us from 10 years in the "future". The film was actually MADE in 2001, though it didn't reach American shores until earlier this year: hence, an unintended poignancy arises from the fact that we, too, are looking at the film's events from the future -- a jaded, rancorous, post-September 11 future. We feel as despairing as the narrating Vicky sounds, and observe the decadent nightlife depicted here with the same sense of disbelief: were we really that hopeful, were we really that careless, when the new millennium was ushered in? In the first scene, she's walking -- almost dancing, really -- down a long concrete promenade under pale florescent lights, while the wall-to-wall techno music starts thumping ever louder. It's a moment of incandescent happiness in a movie that has few such moments.

For the unpleasant details soon assert themselves: she's getting spacey on drugs in a nightclub, returning home to a live-in boyfriend who is abusive, on drugs himself, and erratically but dangerously jealous. One scene, at once nasty and blackly humorous, shows the boyfriend literally sniffing for evidence of adultery on Vicky. The girl occasionally rebels at these indignities and leaves the jerk, but, "as if hypnotized", she always returns whenever he finds her and begs her to come back to him (and he ALWAYS finds her). Hou instinctively understands the self-destructive persona, and he meticulously illustrates Vicky's addictions, whether to cigarettes, booze, "excitement", or degrading sexual relationships. The narration gives us a crucial clue, as well: we learn that this boyfriend of hers convinced her to blow off her final high school exam years back, which basically made her a drop-out and started her on a path toward a wasted life. Hou also understands WHY we're self-destructive; he understands that failure is so much easier.

Occasionally, we get a break from the woozy-headed, nauseous neon underworld of Taipei and find ourselves in a snow-covered fantasyland on the Hokkaido island of Japan. Here, while frolicking in a winter wonderland with a casual Japanese boyfriend and his brother, Vicky reverts, with much relief, to childhood. There's a poignant moment when she leaves an imprint of her face in a mound of snow. The camera lingers lovingly on the image of the barely visible imprint -- it's as convenient a symbol as any for the barely visible life of a pretty party girl without talents or prospects, the type of girl one usually sees only fleetingly in movies about more melodramatic subjects like gangsters (and, yes, this movie is about gangsters, too). She's the hanger-on, the pretty ornament on the arm of the criminal. Well, leave it to Hou Hsiao-hsien, the world's greatest working director, to dare to assert that the Vickys of the world not only have a story to tell, but that their stories can be as bleak and nihilistic -- and as artfully rendered -- as any of your King Lears.

It goes without saying that the Hou's camera placement is utterly and simply without peer. If anything, *Millennium Mambo* marks an advance in his technique: he takes a little more control, here, and is not quite so blandly omniscient as he can sometimes be. It's hard to write about technicalities, but Hou somehow has managed to find the perfect balance between a focused POV and his more usual reliance on oblique reference points. His cameraman, Mark Lee Ping-Bing (of *In the Mood for Love* fame), gloriously realizes Hou's vision with incredible color: smeary and throbbing neon in Taipei, ethereal and misty white in Japan. Finally, Hou has also convinced me that techno and "Deep House" music can actually approximate art . . . as long as this type of music is paired with, well, a movie by Hou Hsiao-hsien. (See his *Goodbye South, Goodbye* for more evidence.)

*Millennium Mambo* is a must-see for the cineaste. 9 stars out of 10.


32 of 44 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 27 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed