Thursday, November 13, 2008

Millenium Mumble

Millenium Mambo (2001)
directed by Hsiao-Hsien Hou
rating: 2 out of 5 cravats
on DVD from Netflix

It isn't that Hou isn't capable of some beautiful shots - here, Jack cooking noodles at the stove in his bare feet, the kitchen lit in blue light through the window - but that composition can't be an end in and of itself. I'm the target audience for a slow-motion track of Shu Qi walking through the entrance of a Taipei subway station, but sometimes the responsible thing to do is call it a commercial and call it a day. The snow scenes in Hokkaido are an exception: a succinct contrast to city life and a clean, pure image of the lonely heroine happy. Singular moments are inherently sad; you don't need the fights and the tears.

Incidentally, the Palm Pictures logo sounds just like The Legend of Zelda whenever Link wanders into a sacred tree. It's like hearing the zither from The Third Man and then having to sit through The Remains of the Day!