Skip to main content

MILLENNIUM MAMBO

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).

See also...

THE PUPPETMASTER

Possessed of a unique melancholic but never indulgent or nostalgic vision, and with nine successes over the last decade, Taiwan's Hou Hsiao-Hsien is unquestionably an international great. His 1991 ... More »

FLOWERS OF SHANGHAI

After a masterful series of films about the history of Taiwan, Hou Hsiao-hsien turns his gaze to a fascinating saga from Chinese history. Qing Dynasty 'Flower Houses', a polite euphemism for elegant ... More »

RAY BANG

Part screwball comedy, part social commentary, Ray Bang is both a great deal of fun and a warm meditation on the hopes and dreams of a trio of deadbeat cab drivers. Hak-Rak contends with a wife ... More »

MON-RAK TRANSISTOR

Straight to MIFF from Directors' Fortnight at Cannes 2002, Pen-ek Ratanaruang's third feature - following Fun Bar Karaoke (1997) and 6ixtynin9 (MIFF 2000) - is a romantic action musical comedy with ... More »

I LOVE BEIJING

A modern-day taxi driver leads a second life as a would be Casanova. From the opening scene, where he poses for wedding photos with his bride to be, we watch through flashbacks as events unfold. The ... More »

BIG MAMA

"Okatsu is a widow raising five children - adults but still mama-dependent - in mid-eighteenth century Edo, Japan. Her frugality attracts unflattering comment even amid national tough times (the ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director