Intended as the concluding film in the trilogy on the modern history of Taiwan began with Beiqing Chengshi (1989), this film reveals the story through three levels: a film within a film as ... See full summary »
Ah-Ching and his friends have just finished school in their island fishing village, and now spend most of their time drinking and fighting. Three of them decide to go to the port city of ... See full summary »
(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
Masterfully directed, though questionably plotted love story focuses on a pair of star-crossed lovers who end up falling in love throughout three different lifetimes in three different time periods. This mystical romance is presented through three self contained vignettes, which remain as true to the customs and culture of the times as is possible. The scope of this film is quite admirable, presenting a deeply sensitive observation on the true essence of love, karma, and the pressures that keep those apart from each other. However, one finds, after the passionate first segment, that the majority of the film does not quite live up to it's vast promise. Starting with it's most emotionally concrete and acutely observed segment, Hsiao-hsien Hou shows why he has earned the respect of his cinematic peers worldwide by beautifully and subtly capturing the heartfelt story. While the other two segments remain interesting, emotional connections begin to slide throughout the tones of the remaining segments. Hou's decision to film the second segment as a silent film, while breaking up the three contrasting styles nicely, ultimately plays as detached and leaves the viewer unconcerned with the characters involved. Returning to modern times, the third segment regains a little vibrancy, but also comes across as distant and underdeveloped. This would all be a lot more tedious to watch, had it not been for Hou's esteemed composition, and the natural graces of the two main leads, exemplified at it's finest unfortunately far too early in the film.
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