Critical Theory and Textual Analysis
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Hou Hsiao-Hsien actually achieved a formidable work and inspirations by the use of long takes in Millennium Mambo. For example, his work provoked many artists, who emulated his work and methodology. His film, Millennium Mambo, is one of the kinds that depict the urban life and its impacts on the youth. This film achieved a lot in educating young people on various aspects of contemporary world, its meaning and impacts to the overall lifestyle. For instance, in the film, the youth are depicted to engage in empty relationships, drugs, thereby, increasing their level of irresponsible behaviour. This, according to the film, increases their involvement in crime, where they are exposed to dire consequences, for instance, being killed. It also reduces their leadership charismatic, leaving many of them grounding in nostalgia and hopelessness. Therefore, the film forms an integral part in educating the young people on responsible behaviour, so that they could grow and influence other people positively.
Accordingly, Hsiao-Hsien, in his review of film’s perpetuation of narcissism, indicates that selfishness begins to develop in the mother’s womb during an early stage. This follows the fact that the unborn child is exposed to the influence of the external environment from conception. The basis for this ideology draws a lot from the psychological studies that create understanding about prenatal influences and the resulting behavioral experiences. Furthermore, Hsiao-Hsien indicates that the fact that the child has nothing to worry about, since all the needs are automatically supplied by the mother, while still at the mother’s womb; the child is exposed to narcissism, thus, shaping his/her behavior. The unborn child is made to believe that it alone is the center of the universe given that he gets all its needs fulfilled in an automatic way.
In some cases, Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s film also achieved an increased child morality; taking into consideration, how and when the child is born, he approaches the world in a state of primary narcissism that is the situation and viable options for youth development. The parents take it upon themselves as prior duty to supply the child with all his/her needs, while, still young, making the child feel that he/she could control the whole of the universe. All the powerful state will continue in the mind of the child until such a time, when the parents are not able to supply all the commands of the child. In the film, the youth’s behavior was found to be wanting, with most of them to be not ready to take active involvement in activities that would create economic empowerment. The lifestyle is propagated by the trend in urban centers as the film depicts. Notably, changing the trend needs a collective strategy to bring all players to the realization that criminal acts could be eliminated. However, when individuals purport to be doing the right thing, yet their activities obstruct others from achieving given ends, then the narrator is categorical that all strategies should be employed to improve the situation.
The film also portrays leadership as a concept of management that exists in almost all daily activities that one is able to undertake. It indicates that most of the youth do not take leadership seriously because of the lifestyle that they like pursuing. Notably, any activity or task, done in coordinating of the affairs of workers, is leadership oriented because it involves making decisions in order to find an amicable solution in managing a crisis. Therefore, the film depicts a negative intent that most youth have, regarding leadership, thus, many of them remain drug addicts and criminals, due to the paths, which they have chosen to follow. In respect to this leadership theme, the film under discussion, Millennium Mambo, relates the youth to unresponsive persons, whose interest in leadership is far low than anticipated. The narrator also indicats that criminal elements crop up due to controllable societal changes, which are left unmanaged and have adverse impacts on individual thinking. For example, the use of technology, such as the Internet and print media could expose the young mind to thrilling activities that one would actually try to emulate. Since the access to such information might be left uncontrolled, the impacts become unprecedented as the case of increase in crime.
There are various areas, which the film reflects in terms of the action, context and roles, undertaken by the characters. The film Millennium Mambo is mainly reflecting intruders in the leadership of a family’s home, which had taken the kin with surprise. The invasion in the family home was not common in most cases, and this surprised them very much. As has been defined by scholars, leadership involves the ability of a person to influence, give motivation in a way that enable a successful outcome form a given situation. As shown in the film, incorporating the youth into activities, geared to promoting their individual welfare and capacities, is the best strategy to reduce their involvement in criminal undertakings. This explains the differences in approach and behavior among various categories of youth in any given environment.
In the film Millennium Mambo, when the thugs, mainly comprising of young people, confronted the family taking out their resources, Vicky led the family, in preventing the thieves from getting into the safe, where their interest of operation was. This was championed by the father and demonstrated some kind of leadership in preventing the vice, by taking a strong stand to divert away this vice. Noting that many youth engage in criminal activities for various reasons, he did not take chance in stopping the ones he knew from committing crime. When a gang of cold blooded thugs raided Taipei and his family, it has called for good leadership approach which had ensured escape. This necessitated the family to avoid any uncalled- for behavior that could lead them into the more devastating impacts. In a way, they had to make good decisions in order to escape from the attack by the criminals. This involves good strategic moves that could only be made by good leaders in a practical situation.
The head of the family, a successful businessman, who was dealing in sale of minerals had shown the audience that he had good leadership ability, unlike the upcoming youth as depicted in the film. He was able to venture into the lucrative business and became the center of admiration. This made the criminals to follow him up in his home to demand for money kept in the safe. In this case, through leadership, the value of performance and quality is high, and this is why there were good returns from the business. He was standing out to be one of the successful persons, who were having wealth, and that is why he became the target of the criminals. The film shows that leadership always starts from the family level. It helps one to stabilize in order to defend the family activities and investments, thus, creating financial independence. Money generating process requires strategies to be laid down in order to get the required support, be in emotional, social and in financial aspects as the film reflects.
Proper leadership in the first place is crucial because it makes issues straight. For instance, in the film Millennium Mambo, the thugs seemed to be disorganized; hence, they were not able to escape with the cash from the family of Mr. Vicky’s Cage. The gang leader was providing leadership strategies that could enable them to undertake a successful operation as opposed to the conventional leadership. This operation was not successful, because for such a mission to be successful, the gang had to be consistently prepared to win the loot (Nicolas & Nicole 2010, p. 17). This showed that they never had any strategies for working out the ways for becoming successful. The structure for this operation was never laid effectively; hence, it resulted into the relief of the family which was under the raid.
At a party, the gang leader just walked in with his girl- friend and the other friends of theirs, and it showed that there were limited chances of undertaking the operation successfully. Leadership requires coordination and commitment, and these qualities were not effectively reflected in the film, and especially on the gangs. Poor leadership strategies, as reflected in the film, actually led to the failure of the entire plans, and this included the plans of the gang, and the desire to bring out a capturing film among the rest. From the theory, based on the concept of leadership, a successful leadership must have four factors, namely the leader, the follower, communication and lastly situation in place.
The leaders must understand themselves with his or her partners. The information, known about the situation must be shown. In the film Millennium Mambo, the head of the family, being raided by the gang, had not known the plans of the gang. They just ambushed in the process as the author had structured it. Knowing the forthcoming events helps in developing confidence in the leader, so that proper mechanisms are placed in order to be successful in any difficulty. In the film, the leader of the family, who was the head by the name of Taipei Miller, had no information about the prevailing gang criminals. Since he had good family members, who were the followers, the situation turned out from being drastic to worse.
The good communication, they had with one another, and especially with the followers, helped in solving the problem at that particular time. This reflected the four factors of leadership as named previously. On the other hand, the gang was shown as people, who were not effectively organized, a strategy that could have been used in executing profitable business operation. There were no proper coordination skills, and the followers of the gang could not effectively coordinate the whole process just in order to escape away without more drama battles. Youth affairs also depicted poor communication that had also contributed to the entire process simply because, as a factor in leadership, it was not captured and reflected generally well. However, in some instances, there could be good coordination, and this is why the thieves managed to access the homestead of the businessman Taipei. This is a strategic move because it required better leadership to have this kind of plans to be carried out. The tight security in the affluent neighborhood did not prevent them from whatever they wanted.
From the film, it is better to note that there were two groups of people mainly from the gang, and that of the family. The family is in the defensive side, while the criminal gang is in the offensive side. Proper coordination and leadership help each side to perfect its activities in most instances. Generally, for keen observation of the film, it is worth noting that the film standards do not show good leadership level, based on its presentation. Its director had generally shown the poor organization and acting moves that were not creative. Creativity is a part of leadership because the followers may require one to make a wiser decision that would have the greatest impact on the general performance. This is, however, lacking in Millennium Mambo. Instead, most people had criticized the film, basing their arguments that it is a quit predictable work. A good work that reflects positive leadership should not be very predictable; hence, in terms of this context, it is not unpredictable one, hence it did not create suspense even in its presentation.
The presentation and the role of certain actors and actresses reflects poor selection and matching of the characters, hence, does not show effective and direct leadership, link with the actor. For instance, when the so- called Daughter of the Nile plays role of typical daughter, who rebels against parents in order to go to the party, this role is not very rewarding, but appropriate in showing that she championed against the parents and eventually headed for the party. This was a misplaced projection because the role could be used better in other works. This shows that generally, the production is very good, and it calls for unity in executing of such moves. Lastly, the film indicated that with the help of leadership structure in any piece of work, when there is a well- thought- out procedure in handling problems, all poor governance and leadership can be erased away. The management aspect must be in place in order to be effective in the production process.
Indeed, Hsiao-Hsien’s thought set a pace for other thinkers, which eventually changed the beliefs of many across the world. He uses the theory of realism to explain that the human mind is blanked at birth, thus the idea of innate thoughts and inspirations does not exist. Conspicuously, she suggested that the personal reflections and senses make one gain experiences and ideals about life. In reality, Hsiao-Hsien’s view is considered to be true because the child is born without innate knowledge, but gains this during growth and interaction with others.
Hsiao-Hsien’s opinion has really changed societal thinking, especially with reference to acquisition of knowledge. Knowing that the brain is blank at birth, everyone struggles to make sure that he/she acquires knowledge during development. Currently, the presence of numerous institutions of learning could have been influenced by the increasing need for practical and relevant knowledge to improve individual growth and economic development. Knowledge diversification that characterizes modern society and way of life has also been influenced by Hsiao-Hsien’s position as he wrote the film. This shows that all cannot be lost, as the youth may be once again introduced to desirable codes of behavior.
As a result the child will be raged and may begin to treat the parents with a lot of despair, resulting in the ego ideal that promotes narcissism. In addition Hsiao-Hsien employed a shift in approaching the issue in a bid to provide a solution to the despair or rage that results from the unfulfilled demands. By shifting the attention from the child to the mother as being all powerful, Hsiao-Hsien enabled the clear understanding, of how the parents cultivate the narcissistic behavior in their children. When the youth begins to believe that his/her parents are all powerful, since they determine, which one of his commands could be fulfilled, he/she will further believe that the parents have the full possession of all his needs, thus, behaving in a particular way.