Friday, August 7, 2009

VERY LITTLE MAMBOING, THOUGH UNDOUBTEDLY MILLENNIAL (a fleeting impression of a pretty but fleeting thing)

As silly as the feeling is, it's nonetheless rather frustrating to come upon a movie you merely sort of like while exploring the work of a filmmaker you love, even more so when that filmmaker demands and usually rewards as much as Hou Hsiao-Hsien. Millennium Mambo has some compelling scenes, and its elliptical, seemingly intuitive structure is intriguing, but the cumulative effect is dissatisfying, even a bit suffocating. The directionless ennui of the Shu Qi character is maybe transferred to the viewer too well, with not enough attendant insight. It begins (see above) and ends strongly, though, and Shu Qi is an undeniably charismatic and beautiful subject for Hou's roving eye.

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