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.

 

REVIEWS

★★★★ "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