Millennium Mambo (Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2001, 106 min, Taiwan, Mandarin with English subtitles, DCP)
New 4K Restoration!
— Introduced by Prof. Eileen Cheng-yin Chow (Asian & Middle Eastern Studies)
A stylish and seductive submersion into the techno-scored neon nightlife of Taipei, Hou’s much-misunderstood marvel stars Shu Qi (The Assassin) as an aimless bar hostess drifting away from her blowhard boyfriend and towards Jack Kao’s suave, sensitive gangster. Structured as a flashback to the then-present from the then-future of 2011, it’s a transfixing trance-out of a movie, drenched in club lights, ecstatic endorphin-rush exhilaration, and a nagging undercurrent of ennui.
“Sordid yet transcendent, bathed in neon haze and set to a relentless techno-beat, Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Millennium Mambo is not only the most pop movie the great Taiwanese filmmaker has ever made but among the most astonishingly beautiful.” – J. Hoberman, New York Times
“A slow burn of profound sadness salved by some of Hou’s most breath-catchingly beautiful passages to date.” – Dennis Lim, Village Voice