Three Times

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Zui hao de shi guang
Hou Hsiao Hsien :: Taiwan :: 2004 :: 2h11

Three love stories set in different times and settings with the same actors playing the protagonists. We can welcome back the beautiful Shu Qi (Millennium Mambo), but she is not particularly luckier in these (too slow but) masterfully made tales.

In the first nostalgic and almost wordless tale, she incarnates a billiard-room employee who falls in love with a young man summoned for his military service. They have only barely touched when we are thrown into a silent era courtesan love for a revolutionary, whose strict dialogues are summarized visually into hurtful words on the screen. The chic but painful ambiance is cut into the harsh concrete contemporary world where our lovers struggle as before. Messages sent, messages received, the communication has intensified but it does not make matters any simpler. In this last tale, the viewer is at times simply set aside, at a distance, we see the lovers drive by, we know them but they could also just fade away into the highway traffic, as if their tale is just one amongst many. The importance of their drama, their love, is equally of supreme importance as it is completely futile in the grand scheme.

As time goes by people change, problems change, and music changes, but love remains as does the beauty of Shu Qi.

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