Three Times ★★★★½

One couple. In three different time periods they can't talk. The couple communicates, of course, through letters, through songs and through gestures, but at no time do they actually say what they mean. In fact, the version of the couple that talks the most talks only about tangential things (another couple, the coming revolution) and their words have no sound - the only sounds in their universe are the songs, always diegetic, but through the magic of Hou's overlapping sound designs, binding together discrete spaces and and clinically-pronounced times. Chang Chen's man is essentially the same performance in all three periods, but Shu Qi changes dramatically: bubbly and sly in the 60s, morose and damaged and oh so cool in the present, and bearing all the dramatic weight of the tragedy of 1911 with her eyes and her shoulders.