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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.
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.
The first part (A Time for Love) is a tender and utterly charming vignette about the pursuit of love set in 1966 Taiwan. Chen is a soldier who periodically returns to a pool hall to see the attendant there (Qi). The second part (A Time for Freedom) is a silent movie set in a brothel during the Japanese occupation of Taiwan. The third part (A Time for Youth) is set in present day Taipei and involves a love triangle between Qi, her female lover, and Chang. It is a sad and bleak vision of love to say the least.
The titles sum up each story as we have love that blooms in the first title but suffers under the sexual inequality of one era and the self-absorbed and nihilistic inherencies of another. All three pieces are short on dialogue and thus demand much of the viewer to observe and interpret.
Qi is good throughout; sweet and shy, graceful and demure, or angst-ridden and self-destructive. Chen is given a bit less to work with, but he does a good job as the love interest, especially in the first part.
It's hard to distinguish where my personal feelings of love start and where the stark yet genuine treatment of love from three different stories ends. I would say that there are times in my life when I would prefer each one. To that end, love as portrayed in Three Times starts out with great promise and hope, runs into obstacles, and then turns sour and dies. Furthermore, after such a wonderful beginning, it's fair to say that the movie leaves the viewer wanting so much more and feeling disappointed and cheated. Perhaps that is Hsien's intended commentary about love as a whole. I hope he's wrong.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Perhaps my favorite Hou Hsiao-Hsien film. The same two actors depict relations in Taiwan in 1906, 1966 and 2005. The 1906 story is told as a silent movie which was very original. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Phillip A. Lecso
Two actors (Shu Qi and Chen Chang) playing three stories of love, from 1966, 1911, 2005.
This is an exquisite movie; it is as beautiful as only a painting by Vermeer can... Read more
Love the cinematography of this movie, as well as the artistic scenes.Published 20 months ago by Eric Chang
Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao Hsien is a critically acclaimed auteur whose work is maddeningly unavailable on DVD. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Film Buff
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 morePublished on March 15, 2014 by artistnatural
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 morePublished on October 28, 2013 by lily t.
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 on August 24, 2013 by Michael Douglas Neely