Three Times review

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This languid, portmanteau film from Taiwanese auteur Hou Hsiao-hsien features a trio of love stories – set respectively in 1966, 1911 and 2005 and all starring the same two lead actors (Shu Qi and Chang Chen). They capture, in fleeting emotions, how historical contexts shape our behaviour.

The stand-out 1966 chapter, A Time For Love, charts the tentative attraction between an army conscript and a pool-hall hostess. There are strong echoes of Wong Kar Wai, with Western pop songs such as ‘Rain And Tears’ integral to the mood of romantic yearning. The remaining two segments – one a silent movie-style study of the relationship between a courtesan and a political activist, the other a fractured account of infidelity in contemporary Taipei – are less engaging, but Three Times remains a visually sharp and beautifully acted piece of work.

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