Three Times

(Zui hao de shi guang)
Taiwan/France 2005. Dir: Hou Hsiao-hsien. 130 min. 35mm

An undisputed masterpiece and Best-of-the-Decade staple, Three Times is Hou's breathtaking, tripartite tale of love (and love lost) from three periods in Taiwanese history: 1966, 1911, and 2005. Starring Shu Qi and Chang Chen as decade-hopping courters, its splendour comes from the way Hou contemplates time within each chapter. “A Time for Love” elliptically jumps from month to month at a 1960s pool hall, where a soldier on leave tries to (re)connect with an attractive bargirl. “A Time for Freedom” adopts the period-proper intertitles of the silent era to portray a 1910s brothel during the Chinese revolution. And “A Time for Youth” returns to the modern-day Taipei of Millennium Mambo to consider a nihilistic singer who sells herself as an object without past or future. "This is why cinema exists" (A. O. Scott, New York Times). In Mandarin and Taiwanese with English subtitles.



★★★★ "Photographed with such visual beauty that watching the movie is like holding your breath so the butterfly won’t stir."

Roger Ebert | full review

"[A] hypnotically beautiful cinematic trilogy."

New York Times | full review

"A film to get lost in, a fragmentary, impressionistic trilogy of fleeting moments of love that is one of the best films of the year."

San Francisco Chronicle | full review