Millennium Mambo

( aka 'Qianxi manbo' )

 

directed by Hsiao-hsien Hou
Taiwan 2001


"Looking at the youthful friends around me, I find that their cycle and rhythm of "birth, age, illness and death' are moving  several times faster than those of my generation. This is particularly true of young girls: like flowers, they are fading almost immediately upon blooming. the process occurs in an instant. I do not remember who said this: 'Of so many leaves drifting everywhere in the sky above us, there is but one leaf which comes to and eternal halt at the very moment of being watches persistently by us with understanding and sympathy'. With this image in mind I hope shot a movie of the story of this youthful girl."     Hsiao-hsien Hou (from the Star Files static screen of the Universe DVD)

 

I hadn't really connected with a Hou film prior to this... and I had seen many including his previous four. However, I was happily enveloped by 'Millennium Mambo' from the outset.  I took much of the narration of Vicky, the central character, to be her own efforts of self-delusion as it quite often did not match what was transpiring on the screen. Not dissimilar to director Michelangelo Antonioni, Hou's atmosphere captures the mood of the characters with their surrounding environment. Vicky's disheveled living quarters showing her unsettled lifestyle / an idyllic snow-scape is a chance a fresh new beginning etc. . Comparisons to Abbas Kiarostami are also appropriate... a simple story with countless complex overtones. As more layers of the characters are revealed so exposes their fateful options in life. Like my other Hou experiences I was encouraged by the inability to guess what would happen next or when it would all end or even how it would all culminate. I saw Vicky as one of many young females making similar life decisions and I also desired a hopeful conclusion for her. Hou has created a touching retrospective on the modern whirlwind of one girl's life... how she (or any of us) can easily be caught up in its fateful circumstances. A masterpiece! out of
 

Gary Tooze

Posters

Theatrical Release: May 19th, 2001 - Cannes Film Festival, France

Reviews    More Reviews   DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison:

Palm Pictures (UMVD) - Region 1- NTSC vs. TF1 Vidéo (France) Box - Region 2 - PAL vs. Universe Laser - Region 3 - NTSC vs. Spectrum (Korea) - Region 0 - NTSC

The TF1 Video is on the TOP 100 List of DVDs.

Big thanks to Kevin Parent  and Paul Whitelock for rest of the Screen Captures!

(Palm Pictures - Region 1- NTSC LEFT vs. TF1 Vidéo - Region 2 - PAL 2nd vs. Universe Laser - Region 3 - NTSC - 3rd vs. Spectrum - Region 0 - NTSC - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

        

 

Distribution Palm Pictures (UMVD)
Region 1 - NTSC

TF1 Vidéo

Region 2- PAL

Universe Laser and Video 

Region 3 - NTSC 

Spectrum
Region 0 NTSC
Runtime 1:40:57 (NOT transferred to NTSC) 1:40:57 (4% PAL speedup) 1:40:36 (NOT transferred to NTSC) 1:40:48 (NOT transferred to NTSC)
Video

1.78:1.00 Letterboxed WideScreen 

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.1 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 9.1 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.81:1.00 Letterboxed WideScreen 
Average Bitrate: 4.65 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.24
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Palm Pictures + TF1 Vidéo

 

  

Bitrate:

Universe Laser +

Spectrum

 

    

Audio

Mandarin (5.1 Surround)  

Mandarin (DTS)  

Mandarin (2.0)  

Mandarin (5.1 Surround)   Mandarin (2.0 Surround), Mandarin (5.1 Surround)  

Mandarin (5.1 Surround)  

 

Subtitles English, and none

English, French and none

 (Extras NOT subtitled in English)

Removable: English, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese English, Korean and none
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Palm Pictures

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen - 1.78:1


 
Edition Details:
• 
Extended Scene ('Vicky in Japan') - 13:00
• Hou Interview (optional English subs) - 4:3 - 8:50
• Trailers (4:05)
• Weblinks
• Filmographies
• Previews

DVD Release Date: August 17th, 2004
Keep Case

Chapters 18

Release Information:
Studio:
TF1 Vidéo

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen - 1.78:1


 
Edition Details:
• 
DVD 1:
• The film (1h 40mn)

DVD 2 (NOT subtitled in English):
• The interview of Hou Hsiao Hsien (40 mn)
• New scenes (13 mn)
• Presentation of the characters (10 mn)
• The trailer (2 mn)
• The trailers taiwanaises (3 mn)
• The spots (2mn), the promotional clip (4 mn)
• Posters and projects
• Photographs of film
• Biographies
• The Rom section


DVD Release Date: August 22nd, 2002
Double
Keep Case

Chapters 18

Release Information:
Studio: Universe Laser and Video

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen - 1.81:1
 
Edition Details:
• DVD5 - One side / one layer

Star's File : Hou statement in 13 static screen with autobiography in Eng or Chinese

Non anamorphic widescreen trailer with non-removable Eng and Chinese subs - 1:47

Three more Golden Scene trailers: 
Lan Yu Non anamorphic widescreen trailer with non-removable Eng and Chinese subs - 2:15
Barking Dogs Never Bite - Non anamorphic widescreen trailer with non-removable Chinese subs - 1:52
The Goddess of 1967 - Non anamorphic widescreen trailer with non-removable Chinese subs - 3:30


DVD Release Date: July 1, 2002
Keep Case

Chapters 8

Release Information:
Studio: Spectrum Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1


Edition Details:
 2nd Disc: Interactive Menu, Scene Selections, Interview with Director, Deleted Scenes, Main Characters, Cast & Crews, Taiwanese Trailer, Posters, Photo Gallery, 12 Films Clips of Director 

DVD Release Date: July 17th, 2003
Keep Case

Chapters 18

 

Comments: ADDITION: Palm Pictures (Dec -04) - Here is the scoop - DON'T BUY THE PALM PICTURE RELEASE FOR THE IMAGE QUALITY ! What a disappointment! - I had read other reviews and was really expecting this to be stellar, but they did not adjust for the PAL speedup and the image is hazy (very blurry) and the colors are washed out. It looks to be a shade cropped on the right edge too. It is as bad as the Spectrum edition in terms of image quality. At least the Hou interview is optionally subtitled and the DTS audio is a real treat, but overall you should indulge and get the French edition (if it is still in print). It is the definitive at present.

******

ADDITION: TF1 Vidéo edition (January 2004)

The TF1 Vidéo DVD has the best image quality and a whole second disc of Extras (not subtitled in English though). It is slightly sharper than the Spectrum DVD and since one is PAL and the other NTSC, yet they both have the same running times. The TF1 Vidéo has no signs of "ghosting". The TF1 Vidéo shows the other DVDs to be cropped slightly on both sides (the Universe Laser more than the Spectrum). On the TF1 Vidéo DVD are wonderful motion menus that are accompanied by music from the film. In fact, they took a unique approach in that when the menu first loads the lead-in part of the music plays, then a second (identical) menu loads that contains a part of the music that loops. The TF1 Vidéo is the one to get - even with the un-translated Extras - no question!

*****

As this film is so dark, it is pretty hard to make concrete determinations about the transfers. One DVD ratio is slightly skewed... I would suspect it is the Spectrum (using my eye) but I don't know for sure. I can say that the Universe Laser edition is brighter, but that could be enhanced. Neither version seems cropped. The Spectrum is sharper and anamorphic. The 2nd disc on the Spectrum is full of involved Extras. Obviously, if you have the opportunity and money I would buy the Spectrum, but you will still have a decent viewing experience with the Universe Laser edition.

- Gary W. Tooze

 


 

Recommended Reading in Chinese/Hong Kong/Taiwanese Cinema (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

 

Check out more in "The Library"


 



DVD Menus

(Palm Pictures - Region 1- NTSC LEFT vs. TF1 Vidéo - Region 2 - PAL RIGHT
)


Universe Laser - Region 3 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Spectrum - Region 0 - NTSC - RIGHT)

 

 

 

Optional Subtitled capture of Hou Interview on the Palm Pictures release!

 

 


 

Screen Captures

(Palm Pictures - Region 1- NTSC TOP vs. TF1 Vidéo - Region 2 - PAL 2nd vs. Universe Laser - Region 3 - NTSC - 3rd vs. Spectrum - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)


 


(Palm Pictures - Region 1- NTSC TOP vs. TF1 Vidéo - Region 2 - PAL 2nd vs. Universe Laser - Region 3 - NTSC - 3rd vs. Spectrum - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


 

(Palm Pictures - Region 1- NTSC TOP vs. TF1 Vidéo - Region 2 - PAL 2nd vs. Universe Laser - Region 3 - NTSC - 3rd vs. Spectrum - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Palm Pictures - Region 1- NTSC TOP vs. TF1 Vidéo - Region 2 - PAL 2nd vs. Universe Laser - Region 3 - NTSC - 3rd vs. Spectrum - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


Hit Counter


Report Card:

 

Image:

TF1 Vidéo 

Sound:

Palm Pictures

Extras:

Palm Pictures (for inclusion of Eng subs) but TF1 Vidéo  has much more.

Menu:

TF1 Vidéo 

 

DVD Box Covers

 

        

 

Distribution Palm Pictures (UMVD)
Region 1 - NTSC

TF1 Vidéo

Region 2- PAL

 




 

 

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Many Thanks...

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