Three Times

February 7, 20088:30pm

In three 45 minutes segments the director takes us through three love stories set in three different times, 1911, 1966 and 2005. In a fascinating approach each couple is played by the same two actors, Qi Shu, one-time soft porn actress (she is far from alone in following this route to recognition as an actress) and Chen Chang. The film explores the changing nature of intimate relationships as society, freedoms and social conventions change.

The director’s treatment of each part is inspired by contemporary films made in each period. For instance, the 1911 segment is influenced by the silent movie, with no spoken dialogue and all the action on set. The approach is expertly uplifted for modern audiences by colour and modern camera work. This part of the trilogy may be interpreted as a metaphor for communicating without saying what you really mean.

An intriguing film from the master, with exquisite cinematography and bold use of music. While some appreciate its constraint and reticence, others recognise they are watching something special, but wonder if its specialness might have been delivered in slightly less time. Tell us what you think.

This is connoisseur’s cinema but its a connoisseurship worth cultivating. Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian.

Enjoy. You’re in for a big-screen treat, because Hou and his usual cinematographer, Mark Lee Ping-Bin, have fashioned 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. G. Allen Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle.

A Golden Palm nominee at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival, Three Times is definitely one for arthouse buffs and fans of Asian cinema looking to restore their factory settings after an overdose of kung fu fighting. Digby Lewis, BBCi films.

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Film Information
Release year: 2006
Running time:   135 mins
Directed by: Hou Hsiao-hsien
Language: Mandarin
Country: France, Taiwan
Classification: 12A
Genre: Drama, Romance
Starring: Qi Shu,
Chen Chang

Golden Horse Film Festival Best Actress,
Best Taiwanese Film of the Year,
Best Taiwanese Filmmaker of the Year

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