France / Taiwan, 2001 (MIFF 2002, Regional Focus)
Director: Hou Hsiao-Hsien
Working as a hostess at a trendy bar, Vicky is engrossed in a narcissistic lifestyle of nightclubs and Ecstasy pills. Her romantic attention is divided between two men. Hao-hao, her neurotic and jealous live-in boyfriend, constantly suspects her of infidelities and goes to absurd lengths to check up on her. Vicky resolves to break it off with him once she has drained the $500,000 from their bank account. Jack, an enterprising gangster with a personal stake in the bar where Vicky works, begins an ambiguous love affair with her that may lead to something else. His presence in her life becomes both a source of trouble and a beacon of salvation.
A leading figure of Taiwan's New Wave in the past two decades, Hou Hsiao-Hsien's fifteenth film screened In Competition at Cannes 2001, where it won the Technical Grand Prize. A story of female entrapment scored by a throbbing techno thump, Millennium Mambo features a radiant performance from Hong Kong starlet Shu Qi.
"Hou's direction, unforced visual sensuality transforms his minimalism into something mesmerising." - Film Comment
Hou Hsiao-Hsien (born in China, 1947) studied filmmaking at the National Taiwan Academy of Arts, graduating in 1972. His fifth film, A Time to Live, A Time to Die (1985), won the International Critics' Award at the Berlin Film Festival. City of Sandess (1989) won the Golden Lion at Venice and The Puppetmaster (1993) was awarded the Jury Prize at Cannes. He produced Edward Yang's Taipei Story (1985) and Zhang Yimou's Raise the Red Lantern (1992).