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MASTERS: Three Times

Art House Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao Hsien weaves his latest release Three Times into such a masterful piece, only the highbrow and finger snapping poets may enjoy.

While it made its World Premiere in Cannes, Hou had rushed the final cut for a last minute delivery to the French Film Festival. Toronto premieres the polished version.

Definitely not for everyone's taste as some may feel that the stories drag in ear-deafening silence at times, it forces the audience to actually pay attention to the story at hand. Known for his 'real-life' like storytelling style, Hou choses to use his Millenium Mambo star, Shu Qi to play opposite Chang Chen (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) in three different stories in three different time periods 1911, 1966 and 2005 Taiwan.

What I like about it is Hou's signature style of long shots, trusting his actors to tell the story through looks, and jaw clenching emotions. At times, I thought Chang Chen's vein running along his head was going to pop any second.

In a 'Time for Love', the first installment of the three story film, we follow a military private trying to find the pool hall matron he played a round of snooker with. She was the only one who wrote him back. In a 'Time for Freedom', the second installment, the lonliness and longing of a courtesan for her client is become too much to bear in this nod to silent movie fanatics everywhere. In a 'Time for Youth' we pay a definite homage to the quiet success of Millenium Mambo as we explore the carelessness of youth in their fleeting disregard for those who love them.

Since, I personally am a big fan of Shu Qi, this film was a MUST-SEE as it is a rare opportunity to see her on the big screen. Yes, she used to do soft porn, but I don't think she would've won awards if she wasn't actually talented.

For the arthouse crowd, Three Times is a definite must watch ... and pay attention.


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