Hou reaches beyond a sample platter compilation of sorts and forms a self-tribute of “love’s struggle through the ages” via a tripartite, zeitgeist sonata: consisting of an Allegro, a story of classic pursuit, an Adagio, of repressed inner lament and a postmodern Finale, signalling out the breakdown of technological globalism. 'Three Times' is an indispensable harvest for film at a time of total barren Earth.
The middle part lacks subtlety (in a film about failed communication, having an entire 40 minutes without any audible dialogue is a little on the nose), but this can largely be overlooked given the quality of the bookending chapters. The first and last shot buttress the film wonderfully—we pull up to the motorcycle, but only briefly, and soon it is lost amid the traffic. We will never know where they end up.
Like Kent Jones perfectly put it, I too half-expected to die of Stendhal syndrome while watching this pièce de résistance. As unimaginably excellent as the first and third sections are, the second movement might very well stand as the greatest sequence I've encountered in film.
Watching it again ten years later, I was struck by its datedness, how neatly Hou's work during this period encapsulated the world art cinema ideal, an ideal that looks a little quaint and stale from here, at least to me. But, you know, it's beautiful, and a virtuoso exercise; perhaps the ultimate articulation of Hou's precision, versatility, and style. And "Rain and Tears," man, over and over and then again please.
Quiet, just like his other films. But I can't help but rejoice in this one, where we're getting the story three times faster... A Time For Freedom was my favorite. The piano sonata creates the perfect distance and tempo for engaging, or drifting off into a nice peaceful sleep...
In 'time for love' Hou makes you believe love is timeless and indestructible; but in 'freedom' you're warned that love is not immaculate and that it hurts, that you're weak and vulnerable; as he ends with 'youth' and a tragic note on free will and self-honesty, he makes you want to live to the fullest above all things, specially love itself. Perfect harmony between tragedy and human nature (specially female).
A quiet moment of reflection and self-interrogation. The filmmaker Hou found his voice in (1966), the formalist that conquered the ungainly realm of 'World Cinema' (1911), and the sensualist's anxious (re)turn to youth and urban postmodernity (2005). Simultaneously the minor work of a master and a major summation and pivot point, which we will surely be returning to often when Hou's work is finally complete.
Disappointing. The division of the film in three separated stories which has no link with each other except the theme prevents the viewer to be really involved. The first story is by far the best of the three. In the second part the choice of the director to make it a silent movie works exhausting to the viewer. The cinematography is sometimes very beautiful and saves the film from disaster.
Una historia más débil que la otra. De entre las tres, la mejor es la primera. Lástima que cuando por fin podemos ver fraternizar a los amantes, esta se pone fin. Tal vez el mayor defecto es que nunca las tres historias logran tener una relación entre sí, salvo porque comparten los mismos actores. Parecen ser tres cortos sueltos disímiles: uno objetivo, otro inclinado al cine silente y el otro denso.