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Millennium Mambo

2.9 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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(Aug 17, 2004)
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(Dec 04, 2012)
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DVD
(Oct 19, 2004)
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$48.31 $20.60

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Editorial Reviews

A neon-saturated story about female entrapment in an urban setting populated by hedonistic, angst-ridden characters. Vicky, engrossed by the narcissistic lifestyle of nightclubs and Ecstasy pills is torn between two men: her neurotic and jealous live-in boyfriend she resolves to break-up with as soon as she can drain $500K from their bank account and an enterprising gangster whose presence becomes both a source of trouble and a beacon of salvation

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Qi Shu, Jack Kao, Chun-hao Tuan, Jun Takeuchi, Ko Takeuchi
  • Directors: Hsiao-Hsien Hou
  • Writers: T'ien-wen Chu
  • Producers: Eric Heumann, Gilles Ciment, T'ien-wen Chu, Wen-Ying Huang
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: Cantonese
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Palm Pictures / Umvd
  • DVD Release Date: October 19, 2004
  • Run Time: 105 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Domestic Shipping: Currently, item can be shipped only within the U.S. and to APO/FPO addresses. For APO/FPO shipments, please check with the manufacturer regarding warranty and support issues.
  • International Shipping: This item is not eligible for international shipping. Learn More
  • ASIN: B0004Z3274
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #209,868 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Millennium Mambo" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
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.
Comment 18 of 20 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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By LGwriter on January 22, 2006
Format: DVD
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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Comment 22 of 27 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
"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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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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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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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A girl is advancing graciously along a walkaway, giving sometimes the impression of floating; she's talking presumably about herself, but at the third person. Or is it about another girl? She's saying that the story has happened ten years ago, in 2001. It's about an abusive boyfriend and about her dependence on him, but her tone is detached, and she's smiling. Are we really in 2011 in this scene? Or the girl from 2001 is imagining her future (Millennium Mambo was made actually in 2001)? As she is advancing, the walkaway becomes a tunnel going down: is it a metaphor for the road that life follows toward the end? The whole scene seems surreal, sending subtle signals: maybe the story in the movie is just symbolic, like in a medieval morality.

Actually the walkaway exists in reality. It is in Keelung, a city on the border of the ocean. The girl exists also in reality, and she is from that city, too. One evening, in a bar in Taipei, she told Hou Hsiao-Hsien her story, talking about herself at the third person, and with the same detachment as the personage from the movie.

Why did she tell her story to the filmmaker? I think because Hou Hsiao-Hsien is a good listener, and people feel confidence and sympathy in good listeners. The movies of Hou Hsiao-Hsien show a particular respect and empathy for people like Vicky, and Hao-Hao, and Jack: young people floating freely over the borders of promiscuity, guys good of nothing, bar girls, small thieves, petty gangsters.
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