Yes, Puppet Master is great. As is, Good Bye South Good Bye, and City of Sadness (the movie that put Jyo-Fen on the map)… but Millennium just struck me as… gratuitously lauded by reviewers from the West who somehow find endless shots of impetuous, shallow shao-jies lighting up and smoking cigarettes and saying “Ni ga ma?” all the time (like Hsu-Qi’s character) somehow alluring and artsy. Reviewers who somehow feel the need to be apologists for the film, acknowledge that there is nothing to grab onto with the characters, and point instead to it’s visual beauty - but, beyond the opening scene that you mention and the shots in Hokaido, this one just does not do it for me. Not this time, IMHO. And then, if you take the angle that this is essentially a film about nothing - not plot driven, nor character driven, and it’s not exceptional as a visual work either… what’s left is… the winner of the Cannes Film Festival. Go figure.
For the ultimate minimalist film… sparse dialog, very simple story line, incredibly visual, check out Anh Hung Tran’s L’odeur de la papaye verte (The Scent of Green Papaya http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0107617/) - now that movie will blow you away, even though, at essence it is as simple and paired down as you can get. And to think, the whole flim was made on a sound stage in Paris, not in Saigon, makes the achivement even more impressive.
Alidarbac… I just noticed your Avatar is a still from Tsai Ming-Liang’s Rebel’s of the Neon God. Just saw that the other day, too (also for the first time). For me it is a much stronger film. And very nostalgic for me… as the setting (1992) conicides with my heyday in Taiwan. (Kind of reminds you how grim Taipei was back when the city was ripped up for the MRT construction) Again, a very sparse film, but somehow it suceeds in making us actually care about the characters, and thus the film, where “Mambo” just doesn’t.
Shame you guys don’t have NetFlix in Taiwan - it is awesome. Tailormade film festivals, whenever you want.
[Edit - Just had a look at your photos - very good, there, Alidarbac. Very good eye - love the candids. Too many of the posters in the Daily Photo section are into rather cold urban architechtural forms, your photography seems to be very much about life and people. Cool]