Three Times

Director: Hou Hsaio-Hsien
Year Released: 2005
Rating: 2.5

In telling three stories in three different periods of Taiwanese history - 1911, 1966 and 2005 - Hou explores ideas of freedom, love and what it means to be young and confused. The 1966 and 2005 sections have a concern for the humanity of its characters that I found lacking in some of his other pictures - although it may sound like heresy, I can't help but think the cinema of Wong Kar-Wai and Tsai Ming-Liang may be finding their way into Hou's pictures (this is a good thing) - but the 1911 piece is (particularly) trapped in its own aesthetic formality, weighing down the middle of the picture. He's still more concerned with his own technique and the process of making a film and moving the camera than his stories or characters, but I suspect that's never ever going to change.