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Millennium Mambo (2001)

Qi Shu , Jack Kao , Hsiao-hsien Hou  |  R |  DVD
2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Qi Shu, Jack Kao, Chun-hao Tuan, Yi-Hsuan Chen, Jun Takeuchi
  • Directors: Hsiao-hsien Hou
  • Writers: T'ien-wen Chu
  • Producers: Eric Heumann, Gilles Ciment, T'ien-wen Chu, Wen-Ying Huang
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: Cantonese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: August 17, 2004
  • Run Time: 119 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002DB5MC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #153,720 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Millennium Mambo" on IMDb

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars mesmerizing August 23, 2004
By hammer
i think this is one of the most beautiful films i've ever seen. i was absolutely hypnotized by shu qi's performance, her authenticity, her emotion, etc. the scenes have this "real-time" cadence, lending the story yet more authenticity by making the viewer feel as if they are witnessing a 'real' argument, real sex, real healing. each scene seems to pull some of its energy or emotion out of the coloring and lighting of the setting...very deliberate, very beautiful. i don't claim to be a film expert...but i loved what i saw.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The smoker January 22, 2006
Directed by Taiwanese filmmaker Hou Hsien, Millenium Mambo is a compelling portrait of anomie in modern day Taiwan. The lead female, Vicky, played by actress Shu Qi, is seen endlessly lighting cigarettes which quickly comes to represent her lack of direction, her uncertainty about her life. She basically does not know what to do so to substitute something halfway "concrete" for this lack of direction, she lights a cigarette.

In addition, as is true for Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Barren Illusion (not available domestically on VHS or DVD), the director peppers the film with references to Western culture that have pervaded the culture of Taiwan; the implication is that this counts in large part for Vicky's alienation and, by extension, that of her friends who are also bar girls and also that of her boyfriend, Hao Hao.

Hsien uses time splicing to tell his story and this is a subtle use indeed. We see a back and forth of events, some of which Vicky narrates in voiceover, some of which she does not. She goes to Japan to find her new boyfriend Jack after she breaks up with Hao Hao; Jack is a gangster, another oblique reference to Western culture that has corrupted, or at least changed Taiwanese culture. But she also goes there to find two brothers, whose names escape me at the moment, who are half Japanese and half Taiwanese. While there, the camera languidly passes by a long series of posters illlustrating movies both Western and Asian alike. This is Hsien's way, no doubt, of indicating the context of this film itself; it is, after all, only a movie. Or maybe it is, more than anything else, a movie. Who can tell?

Hsien is known for his seemingly ambling, plotless style, and this film is no exception.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a movie for everyone... June 5, 2007
"Millennium Mambo", directed by Hou Hsiao-hsien, is not a movie for everyone. The reason why I say that is pretty simple, as not much happens, and the story is somehow slow, unless you get caught up in what is happening to the main character. I did, and that is the reason why I enjoyed this dvd...

The main character of this film is Vicky (Shu Qi), and "Millennium Mambo" is just a way to allow her to tell her story, in her words, from a very subjective point of view. Vicky is an extremely beautiful young woman that lives in Taiwan and doesn't have a clue regarding what to do with her life. But is that her fault, or is that loss of direction something that has to do with the spirit of our time? And why does she make us care?

I should point out that this movie doesn't end neatly, so those who only like that kind of ending won't find it here. "Millennium Mambo" is open-ended, in more or less the same way that Vicky's own story is in the process of changing and doesn't have real fixed limits. I find that fitting, at least for this movie, and I think that you will deem it appropriate too. Recommended!

- Belen Alcat, June 2007 -

PS: I give this movie 3.5 stars out of 5 :)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slow paced but captivating in an odd way. April 12, 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I would say that this movie is captivating and believable - watching it is like taking a voyeuristic journey alongside the troubled life of a young woman and watching her decisions, choices, and addictions (smoking, drinking, and bad relationships). No real excitement; the flow is like floating down a lazy river and enjoying the view along the way.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Astounding Film ! October 13, 2005
Films like Millennium Mambo are a very rare, but very special breed indeed . I've seen so so many mediocre to poor films lately. Literally dozens of them. And after you watch so many bad films, you say to yourself "Maybe I just don't have the same passion for movies as I once used to."

And then one day, unexpectedly, a movie like Millennium Mambo appears. And it restores your faith in movies.

After reading many reviews and other peoples opinions of this film, I realized that it takes a special type of person, to appreciate a special type of film. Millennium Mambo is for those who know.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not my favorite Qi Shu movie October 15, 2013
By NickJ
I liked Qi Shu's performance in A Beautiful Life so much that I've watched most of her other films that are available in the West. Of those, this is my least favorite. The plot and characters are really pointless - the movie is about dysfunctional people being dysfunctional. A lot of people seem to like this movie, but it's hard to see why.
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Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
One of the best films from perhaps the most impressive filmmaker now working today. A ravishing film of urban youth set adrift in the bars and clubs of an ethereally beautiful contemporary Taipei. Like much of his work this draws criticisms for being static, but in truth he is only extremely patient in this study of languor at the end of the millennium. To quote Walter Chaw: "the film is a precise versification ruled by the unbearable beauty of youth at its terminus and decisions for a lifetime made at the trembling moment of crisis."
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievably boring, pointless and tedious
This film is unbelievably boring, pointless and tedious. Just stupefyingly bad. Some young losers in Taiwan have aimless lives. We watch them smoke cigarettes. That's about it. Read more
Published on April 17, 2010 by Doctor.Generosity
2.0 out of 5 stars Overrated
I have to say when I bought this film I was very excited for Shu Qi's performance because I absolutly fell in love with her movie THREE TIMES. Read more
Published on March 9, 2009 by [Brooke]
2.0 out of 5 stars "a distant sequence of images flashing on the screen."
Millennium Mambo (Hsiao-Hsien Hou, 2001)

I've been trying to write this review for a month, forcing myself to mull this movie over in my head, because everyone and their... Read more
Published on February 19, 2008 by Robert Beveridge
3.0 out of 5 stars Lost Souls in Taipei: Visually Stunning, But Emotionally Too Detached
In the neon-saturated city of Taipei lives a young woman named Vicky. She is living with her boyfriend Hao, but he isn't working now and moreover, is a very jealous guy. Read more
Published on June 16, 2007 by Tsuyoshi
3.0 out of 5 stars Look out, something fermented this way comes!
Shu Qi looks dear and is fortunately in nearly every scene. I would say that this character must have been written for her. Read more
Published on March 2, 2007 by Dwight
3.0 out of 5 stars Ho-Hum
Interesting come to mind. Beautiful comes to mind. Great acting comes to mind. Artful comes to mind. Great plot does not come to mind, nor does meaningful. Read more
Published on June 22, 2006 by Fleseastorm
2.0 out of 5 stars Good Acting But The Story Is So Dry
It's hard to review Millennium Mambo and explain the disappointment it gave you. It truly feels like your watching a surveillance tape of some girl and her troubles that don't... Read more
Published on April 22, 2006 by Keith A. Jones
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