Screened as part of NZIFF 2006
The great Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien retraces history through three vignettes of romantic love, set in 1966, 1911 and 2005. Each affair is encapsulated in a film style tailored to its period. The first is a languorous, sexy evocation of Hou’s own young manhood – on leave from military service, falling in love with pool hall hostesses to the strains of 'Rain and Tears'. In the second, shot in the exquisite style of Hou’s Flowers of Shanghai and presented as a silent movie, a rich man and his son discuss buying out a courtesan’s contract. After so much gorgeously attenuated desire, welcome to now: the third section, set in the pounding, neon world of Millennium Mambo, has a young rock singer hurtling back and forth between her lovers, male and female. Shu Qi and Chang Chen take the leads each time, their star power beautifully harnessed into three different periods by the master.
“Seductive… full of small, magical moments which capture fleeting pleasures and transient emotions.” — Tony Rayns
“It’s a movie of subtle brilliance, always stunning to look at.” — Geoff Andrew, Time Out