fbpx

THREE TIMES

Director: HOU HSIAO-HSIEN

TAIWAN • 2005 • SUBTITLED • COLOUR • DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO • 130 MIN


TIME: SO OFTEN IT SLIPS THROUGH OUR FINGERS, BUT WHEN WE’RE IN LOVE IT SEEMS TO STAND STILL.
Heightened emotions shape the moment in the trio of stories marking the latest from Taiwanese master Hou Hsiao-hsien, each of them featuring romantic sparks between Chang Chen (from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and Hou’s gamine muse Shu Qi, and each of them adeptly shot in a different style to reflect the relevant setting. Thus, the opening segment ‘A Time for Love’ is all shy looks, blissful pop music and gliding tracking shots as a young man returns from his military service in 1966 to find the billiard-hall hostess who’s captured his heart; the mainly silent ‘A Time for Freedom’ moves the action back to 1911 and puts the dialogue into inter-titles for a story where the girl is now a prostitute in a Chinese brothel and hopelessly smitten by a client barely aware of the authenticity of her emotions; bang up to date however, is ‘A Time for Youth’, where 2005 Taipei sees an upcoming pop chanteuse and a photographer in a troubled liaison registered in fragmentary editing and hand-held camera. The abiding theme is that although morality may change and communications improve, we still don’t make falling in love exactly easy for ourselves. Indeed, Hou’s film exerts a mesmerising hold as a slow yet captivating outpouring of bittersweet melancholy, never more achingly beautiful than in the initial 1960s reverie unfolding to The Platters’ song ‘Smoke Gets In Your Eyes’. Simply masterful film-making. —Trevor Johnston.

Book Tickets

}