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 »
(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
Because this movie takes patience and doesn't depend on the usual understanding of plot and character, it's been under-appreciated, in my opinion. The opening segment takes place in the Sixties, followed by a trip into the past in the next segment, and into the future, i.e. the present, in the last. Because the same actors appear as lovers in all three, the movie invites us to compare historical interpretations of love and life, as well as see what is continuous in all three. Nothing much "happens" in any of the three, though there are small stories in each; the meaning of the movie lies in the sensibility and sensuous effects of each historical section. The beauty and dignity of the 1911 section is contrasted with the repulsiveness of the contemporary urban, industrialized and technological landscape, yet the modern women have a freedom that the heroine of the 1911 section could not dream about. The treatment of love is serious, yet also playful; love songs, love letters and smoking (tea a century ago) are all customs and codes of romance movies that are used ironically here. All in all, a masterful and interesting movie, but not for those who want fast-paced thrills.
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