Where the film falters slightly is in the third and final section titled 'A time for Youth', which brings the narrative up to date by focusing squarely on contemporary Taiwanese society and its relationship with the alienated youth of today. I felt this final section somehow didn't work as well as the other two and maybe that has largely to do with the deeply morbid tone which is maintained throughout. What was quite striking though about this final section was the moving image of our two lovers on a motorcycle, speeding across a bridge and contemplating on the uncertainty of their fragmented relationship. This is my first Hou Hsiao-Hsien experience and I am still trying to figure out why such an important world cinema film maker has not crossed my cinematic radar before. I am looking forward to working through his body of work, that is if I can get hold of his films on DVD.
The following extract is taken from a very complicated but worthwhile appreciation of the film by a Norwegian film critic from the senses of cinema website:
Considerations of brevity allow this author to present merely a fraction of what ought to be known about this film. The unravelling of its dense, beautiful patterns is an integral part of experiencing it, and its complexity mirrors our information-saturated and impenetrable modern life, which art should reflect and of which Three Times is an outstanding example. It is an emotional film with an intellectual heart.
The Complexity of Minimalism: Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Three Times by Dag Sødtholt, 2006