Less accessible than recent "Cafe Lumiere," picture will appeal strongly to fans.
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My first impression of Three Times was that it was high middling Hou--conceptually bold but unevenly executed. The movie's implicit themes of time travel, eternal recurrence, and the transmigration of souls seemed as muddied by the director's devotion to Shu as they were dissipated in the confusion of the final present-day section. But Three Times improves on a second viewing.
Features minimal dialogue. It is mostly about mood and images, and it moves at a glacial pace.
It's simply one of the most beautiful films he's (Hou Hsiao Hsien) made to date.
Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien's hypnotically beautiful cinematic trilogy Three Times doesn't just illuminate faces and objects; it seems to fill them up, as if they were lighted from within.
Three Times offers a careful examination of the changing ways people have reacted to each other during the past 100 years. As such, it's an interesting essay but certainly a minor work from a master.
A sampler of novella-length films set in three different time periods and starring the same two actors, Hou Hsiao-hsien's Three Times resembles one of those delicate trios served at fine restaurants, each a fresh interpretation of a common ingredient.
The film's trouble is in what happens in each section: not enough. Once the atmosphere of each period is established, the story is too weak to interest--and the characterizations are too thin to compensate.
In these three potent miniatures, Hou Hsiao-hsien suggests that time passes differently when you're deeply in love. He captures the mystical quality of that time on film, making us feel as if we're living in it, rather than simply watching it.
Anchored by the performance of Shu Qi, who has come a long way from her days as a nudie pin-up. She's a first-rate actress.