UK Premiere: Millennium Mambo

UK Premiere: Millennium Mambo

classified 15 PS

Restored & Rediscovered


Please note: This was screened in July 2023

Hsiao-Hsien Hou
Shu Qi, Jack Kao, Chun-hao Tuan, Jun Takeuchi
119 mins, Partially Subtitled, 2001, Taiwan / France
Primary language

A neon-drenched trip through nocturnal Taipei, Millennium Mambo stars Shu Qi as Vicky, a bar hostess losing interest in her dull, garrulous boyfriend, and attracted to the mysterious, sensual gangster Jack. Built as a flashback from the future, she finds herself afloat amidst a world of ecstatic nights out and an undertow of nagging emptiness, torn between the two men.

Like Edward Yang (represented elsewhere at Cinema Rediscovered with his A Confucion Confusion), director Hou Hsiao-Hsien emerged as one the major figures of the Taiwanese New Wave, and even collaborated with Yang as a screenwriter on Taipei Story (1985).

Misunderstood at the time by critics and audiences as a misstep in Hou’s otherwise excellent track record, it’s now reclaimed as a vital cog in his filmography. Hou’s meditative style is front-and-centre in Millennium Mambo, aided by the presence of the sublime cinematographer Mark Lee Ping-bin, who at the time had just finished work on In the Mood for Love (2001).

A 4K restoration courtesy of Orange Studio carried out in 2022 in Paris by the laboratory ‘Éclair Classics, Imagine Ritrovata Paris-Bologna.

Restoration notes:From the start of the restoration, the aim was to keep the colour tones and texture of the Picture fresh and close to the 35mm theatrical print. The 35mm camera negative was stored at ÉCLAIR laboratories and was in pristine condition when it was digitalized in 4K on ARRISCAN. Grading was carried out by members of the expert team from the original film department of Éclair. In close contact with 3H Productions in Taiwan, Orange Studio had the chance to take the restoration work a step further: thanks to the production sound mixer last October, they incorporated a revised and augmented mix track which rendered very effectively the opening and nightclub scenes.

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