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Three Times (2005)
"Zui hao de shi guang" (original title)

6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 3,527 users   Metascore: 80/100
Reviews: 46 user | 79 critic | 22 from Metacritic.com

Three stories set in three times, 1911, 1966 and 2005. Two actors play the two main characters in each story.

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Title: Three Times (2005)

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
May / Courtesan / Jing
...
Chen / Mr. Chang / Zhen
Fang Mei ...
Old Woman
Shu-Chen Liao ...
Madam / Jing's mother
Mei Di ...
May's mother / Madam
Shi-Shan Chen ...
Haruko / Ah Mei
Lee Pei-Hsuan ...
Hostess / Micky
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Lawrence Ko ...
(special appearance) (as Ko Yu-Luen)
Edit

Storyline

(1) "A Time for Love": In 1966, in Kaohsiung, Chen meets May playing pool in a bar when he is joining the army. He sends letters to her and he comes to the bar to meet her again in his leave. However, May had traveled to another place and Chen seeks her out. (2) "A Time for Freedom": In 1911, in Dadaochend, the writer Mr. Chang works for Mr. Liang and frequently travels to a brothel, where he meets the singer. He financially helps the courtesan Ah Mei to become a concubine. When the singer asks him if he would help her to leave the brothel, there is no answer. (3) "A Time for Youth": In 2005, in Taipei, the messy relationship of the photographer Zhen, his girlfriend Jing and a bisexual singer. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

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Details

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

28 October 2005 (Taiwan)  »

Also Known As:

Three Times  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$14,197 (USA) (28 April 2006)

Gross:

$151,662 (USA) (4 August 2006)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

, ,  »
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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Rain and Tears used in the first chapter of the movie is sung by Aphrodite's Child. See more »

Soundtracks

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
Music by Jerome Kern with lyrics by Otto A. Harbach
Performed by The Platters
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Hou confirms his standing as probably the most masterly film maker currently at work anywhere
5 August 2006 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

Three Times shows Hou Hsiao-Hsien developing further the themes of his two dazzling earlier works Flowers of Shanghai and Millennium Mambo.

It consists of three tales of love and its vicissitudes: A Time for Love, set in 1966, A Time for Freedom set in 1911, and A Time for Youth, set in the present.

As with all great art, everything lies in the style, the tempo, pacing, control of light, the compositions and framing, the control of tone, the nuances of facial expressions and bodily poses and movements, and the way all these amplify and develop the subject.

The incidents depicted are spare and in the case of the first tale almost non existent. Yet through his technique Hou right from the outset creates a mesmerizing, hypnotic, almost overwhelming spell.

This is film making on the grand scale,reminiscent of the great sixties film makers, but almost never seen these days. One wants to invoke the opulence of a Visconti , the deceptively involved and passionate realism of a Godard, the precise formulations of Eric Rohmer and Michelangelo Antonioni.

Beyond film other comparisons come to mind: Raymond Carver's supreme control of tone in elevating the barest of incidents to the stuff of high drama is perfectly matched by Hu, particularly in the first of his tales. The radiant, almost contemplative or prayer-like presentation of the women in all three tales simply reading letters or E-Mails reminds one of nothing so much as Vermeer.

In each part the style perfectly matches the themes - restraint (whether tentative and hesitant, or formalized and implacable) in the first two, and gorgeous excess in the last.

And in each section there is a succession of moments so beautiful, so "right" and so new, one really wants to shout it from the rooftops.

Whilst Three Times perhaps lacks the cumulative dramatic power of the two earlier films, it shares with them the exhilaration one gets from knowing one is viewing a great artist at the peak of his powers, the sense that he can literally do anything he wants, that no subject is beyond him.

If you haven't seen these films do yourself a favor and seek them out - they are quite possibly among the most important art of our time.


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