Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
Original title: Qian Xi Man Po
Taiwan/France, 2001. 3H Productions, Orly Films, Paradis Films, Sinomovie. Screenplay by T’ien-wen Chu. Cinematography by Ping Bin Lee. Produced by T’ien-wen Chu, Eric Heumann. Music by Yoshihiro Hanno, Kai-yu Huang, Giong Lim. Production Design by Wen-Ying Huang, Chih-cheng Wang. Film Editing by Ching-Song Liao.
Visually opulent indulgence from Hou Hsiao-Hsien, who takes his intricate camera work into the world of Taipei rave culture for a formless meditation on obsessive love. Vicky (Qi Shu) is in a constant state of breaking up with Hao-Hao (Chun-hao Tuan), but somehow he always finds out where she goes and she manages to always fall back into a pattern with him. They make love, they fight, they hang out in bars lit in gorgeous neons, and she takes up with an older lover, but they keep finding their way back to the pattern of strife that seems to be their only way of being together. The whole thing has barely a mumble of a plot, but more disappointing is that there is so little substance on display; even fans who love Hou’s realist explorations of human interaction without strong narratives will find themselves more or less bored by the experience. The real appeal will be mainly for those who are fans of superstar Shu, for even the nightlife culture that Hou so meticulously researched (including trying ecstasy at a club) is barely mined here.
Cannes Film Festival: In Competition
European Film Award Nomination: Screen International Award