Film Micrœview #140: Millennium Mambo (2001)

09.21.2014 § Leave a comment

Millennium Mambo

Rating: Good.

Beautiful to watch. Generally the camera from a fixed point rotates slowly, trailing its object; close-up means it leaves frame often. Focus also slowly playing catch up. Glowy likes bokeh in back. Latter like his other films, the rest new for him.

Great performance by Shu.

Pretty music.

The idea of a lifelong mutually destructive but inescapable relationship is compelling, and it’s introduced perfectly in the first scene.

The best thing Millennium Mambo has going for it is the premise of being narrated in the third person by its protagonist ten years in the future. We never glimpse this future, where she’s overcome her struggles. It is enough to know that she identifies so little with herself here that she’s as if another person. That alone is enough to carry the energy through the portrayals of her struggles. (I’m reminded of Barry Lyndon in that the scenes are described before they play out, negating suspense, but lending them this gorgeous fatality).

Other than that, there’s not much to this film, though, which is why I only give it a Good.

I know Hou is influenced strongly by Ozu, but here I feel a little more of a WKW vibe. Aside from a shot of a Japanese train at the very end, of course, superficially.

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