Drinking and disillusionment in Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s Millennium Mambo

With The Assassin dropping into cinemas this week, Adam Cook revisits The Taiwanese director’s 2001 masterpiece.

Words

Adam Cook

In Millennium Mambo, director Hou Hsiao-Hsien tells us so much about Vicky (Shu Qi), the film’s aimless protagonist, from one composition. Obscured by the foreground, we feel her disillusionment, the alcohol tells us of her drinking problem and hints at her restlessness – and from the same vantage point we see the bedroom she shares with her DJ boyfriend, Hao-Hao. From here we can see her and her relationship dissolve.

The Assassin is released 22 January.

Published 19 Jan 2016

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