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Three Times (2004)

Qi Shu , Chen Chang , Hsiao-Hsien Hou  |  Unrated |  DVD
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)

Price: $19.95 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Product Details

  • Actors: Qi Shu, Chen Chang, Fang Mei, Shu-Chen Liao, Mei Di
  • Directors: Hsiao-Hsien Hou
  • Writers: Hsiao-Hsien Hou, T'ien-wen Chu
  • Producers: Ching-Song Liao, Gilles Ciment, Hua-fu Chang, Wen-Ying Huang
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Silent, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Chinese (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Ifc
  • DVD Release Date: September 26, 2006
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Shipping: Currently, item can be shipped only within the U.S. and to APO/FPO addresses. For APO/FPO shipments, please check with the manufacturer regarding warranty and support issues.
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,331 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Three Times" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Three Times is a Hou Hsiao masterpiece. A rapturous and beautiful love story set in three different eras, a pool hall in 1966, a 1911 brothel and present day Taipei. Stylistic and true to life of the times, Hou Hsiao Hsien brings to life the culture of each period as the tale unfolds. Critically acclaimed for its wisdom, cineamatic style and storytelling it is a must see for any true lover of cinema

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
43 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Three Times July 30, 2007
The brilliance of Hou's magnificently gorgeous meditation on love and longing, of course, is the conceit of using the same two actors in each sequence. And you couldn't ask for better performers than Chang and Shu, who are captivating regardless of the age they're portraying, particularly in the nostalgic, near-wordless "A Time for Love" segment, steeped in a sultry `60s atmosphere. Hou's other brilliant stroke is to make the next part, which unfolds in a brothel during the Japanese occupation of Taiwan, a short silent film, with hypnotic music and title cards. Taken as a whole, "Three Times" is nothing short of a rapturous, romantic masterpiece--in triplicate.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More exciting than Goodbye Dragon Inn... December 30, 2008
Three Times is quickly becoming my favorite film, with each viewing I find a new favorite segment. At first it was the third, then the first, now the middle....and those were five viewings ago. In addition to picking a favorite segment, another difficult task is coming up with an overarching theme that connects the three pieces aside from the same two main characters. As a Taiwanese American, I'm partial to Hou's films, but I admit that they are not always easy to understand, or appreciate. Ultimately, it comes down to if the movie strikes a cord with you. For me it did, but I can understand why for some it is only less boring than watching paint dry.

There are so many wonderful moments in the film for me that I can easily fall in love with this film without having to cohere the three different stories. Whether it is the familiar roadsigns that distinguish the drab, nondescript little towns from one another on Chang's quest to find Shu in "A Time for Love," which remind me so much of my own frantic drives on the highway in anticipation of seeing a loved one, or the heartbreaking piano score that picks up its pace as Shu ponders the lamentable fate the little girl is about to enter in "A Time for Freedom," which can be heard on the trailer for the film on youtube by the way, this film immerses and tugs at you surreptitiously and from all directions.

The more I watch the film, the more I struggle to find Hou's message for this film. Is he trying to say that love is eternal, unapologetic and transcends time or that it is cruel, ever-changing and subject to interpretation? This film merits repeated viewing. Give it a chance, and another one, perhaps a third, and decide for yourself. Dare I say it, you don't have to be a fan of Hou's aestheticism and narrative style to enjoy this film.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Foreign Film Of 2006 January 21, 2007
By Jen
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I can understand that without certain historical knowledge and an understanding of the current culture of Taiwan, the second and the third piece could be somewhat difficult to related. But the first story is absolutely a masterpiece. It contains minimum plot (if you would call it a plot), minimum dialogue (no more than 10 words in each conversation), yet it makes you fall in love with the characters. Is it possible to blame the critics for calling it anything other than "magic"?
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie, but not for everyone June 13, 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This movie is three independent portraits of eras and different aspects of the human condition. The first is set in 1966 and is a portrait of the search for love. The second takes place in 1911 (despite the product description, this seems like a mansion, not a brothel) and tells the story of the need for freedom from a contract of servitude. The final piece demonstrates the heartbreaks and regrets of youth.

Each portrait is a reasonable attempt to match the style of movies of the period in which it is set. For example the 1911 piece is done as a silent movie.

The movie's greatest weakness is also its greatest strength. All of the scenes have a very pedestrian feeling which takes some time to get used to. However, the same slow approach immerses the viewer in the worlds of the characters in a way which other movies do not do.

Also the movie is short on dialog and the focus of the manners and facial expressions of the characters is central.

This is a great movie, but may seem a little slow for some. The acting is superb, as is the directing, etc. But not everyone will enjoy it. However, I would still give this 5 stars. I will probably watch it again and again.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 2005 Cannes Film Festival: A Nominated Love Story April 22, 2008
By Lady_C
This film depicts Taiwan's love relationships in three distinct time periods: 1966, 1911* and 2005. I have seen some relationship movies in a time warping settings, but this one particularly caught my attentions.

1. It's a movie about how love evolves in Taiwan where is a blend of 50-50 Chinese-Japanese* culture. You would be interested in learning the nuance difference.

2. Do these lovers become more open about their feeling toward love as time changes? ie. wording, body language, aspect and whatnot gestures and approaches.

3. What does a relationship mean to them in these 3 periods?

Interesting enough to you?
And plus, this movie gives you an exquisite taste of the old times, exciting flame of the new era, and a bridge connecting these two.
You will find your family, friends or even yourself in these 3 periods [as time goes by].

Historical Note:
Taiwan was a colony of Japan between 1895 and 1945.
The Republic of China = Taiwan, was born in 1912.
You see the culture and policies are overlapping here.

Plot/scene hints:
This is an art film, not a Hollywood stereotype flick. One innocent love, one mercenary love, and one modern love. It's more interesting to learn some questions before watching this film. Yes! Think and Watch like a Cannes Film critic.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Refracting history through the personal
Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao Hsien is a critically acclaimed auteur whose work is maddeningly unavailable on DVD. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Film Buff
5.0 out of 5 stars View this excellent video only if you are running Microsoft Windows...
I have watched the first part of this trilogy many times from local video stores. Because it is a trilogy I can only discuss the first part. Read more
Published 6 months ago by artistnatural
5.0 out of 5 stars I can't stop thinking about it.
I saw this movie several years ago after running across it at my local Blockbuster, and I have not been able to stop thinking about it since. Read more
Published 11 months ago by lily t.
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a great reincarnation movie
This is a great reincarnation movie from China. I have watched it many times. It has three stories when people show up in each other's lives three times. I highly recommend it.
Published 13 months ago by Michael Douglas Neely
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent movie
I really enjoyed watching different time periods of this Chinese movie. It is interesting to see what was happening in another part of the world and relate it to what was happening... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Brad
3.0 out of 5 stars basic editing glitch in the beginning ?
Ok to watch in a pinch but definitely a bit slow and seemed like there was a basic costume change missing in the beginnign that wouldvbe made it make more sense..
Published 16 months ago by Birgit Mitchell
3.0 out of 5 stars Well done. Boring
Shu Qi is beautiful The production values are very good. I liked the three different time/style attempt. Read more
Published 17 months ago by rroberts
1.0 out of 5 stars Slow movie
Just never took off. Very slow moving. I'm a shallow guy and it is probably too "deep" for me. I think it would appeal to thoughtful people, which I evidently am not.
Published 18 months ago by David J. Sharp
5.0 out of 5 stars This is really good movie making
There have been movies where the actors play essentially the same characters in different times of the world. This is different and it is very engaging. Read more
Published 20 months ago by RayBlahBlah
1.0 out of 5 stars movie sucked
It is not the movie i expected. I wanted some skin and there is none that i saw, i fast forwarded through most of it
Published 21 months ago by CincySid
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