(5 + 4 + 3 )/ 3 = 4. The first part being one of the greatest pieces of film making of the decade
Wow. Initially I felt little for this one, but last night it has been proven to me that giving films a second chance can be very rewarding. Got goosebumps during the first part, torn apart by the second and ultimately, during the last part, felt the need to hold my girlfriend closer than ever before because of the portrayed meaninglessness and transience of relationships. Definately one of my favorite Hou's.
Simple yet audacious, but not boring unlike the Flowers of Shanghai. Frankly I loved it. The central part is the best I think, there is nothing special about it in term of cinematography or story at first sight. Hou Hsia-hsien really amazes me when he doesn't try to do something fancy and trendy (e.g. Millenium Mambo) but just relies on a filmmaking stripped down to the bones like that.
A fantastic movie! The film shows three different time eras in Taiwan (1911, 1966 and 2005). It's an incredible and hypnotic time travel. The part from 2005 is maybe a little too much Roel Puijkish (jfr. Digital media), but actually Hou Hsiao-hsien hits the nail on its head in his understanding of our time era! Anyway, it's the parts from 1966 and 1911 that really make the movie too what it is - they are very beautiful and nostalgic. The sharp contrast between the three parts make the film very interesting and impressive! PS. The female main character is really beautiful, and that is an aspect I always appreciate ;)
I agree with Xavier, this movie doesn't seem to be about love. In fact, the stories become increasingly less romantic and the relationship more shallow. There were some great touches (shot architecture in the first part, the use of extra-diegetic music in the second, subtle and complex storytelling in the third), but I didn't find the whole to be greater than the sum of its parts.
This is not a love film. The title literally means 'Best of times'. Thus, what's shown might be in reference to the title. Each short portrays relationships but never alluding to the 'platonic' idealization of love. Distance, social structure, dissatisfaction. There is always something. Nothing is ever perfect. Is the director asking us to read history skeptically? Or to embrace the past with its imperfections?
The movie is alright. The art and lighting seem to be painstakingly thought, and represent the film biggest merit. However, the camera movements and framing don’t always work. “a time for love” is by far the best, straightforward narration, little dialog. I like the way Hsiao-hsien images bond with that version of “smoke gets in your eyes”.