Session 33: Chinese (Taipei) film: Three Times, First Story, 1962 (screening), First of four sessions • AMQ
Topics for this session
❖ Recent cinema from China (Taipei): Three Times, first session of four
Overall, persistent topics for this film:
- Context: This film definitely is making the point: "In this specific place, with this specific social group, at the specific moment in history, love is ..." This is nearly perfect for the themes of this class. Consider the question "How does context (concepts prevalent at that time/place/social group) affect the romantic narrative?" as the primary question of this film even if in class we don't grapple much with it.
- Layering: This film uses the same actor and actress pair for each story and very self-consciously "recycles" the other actresses into interestingly different roles. This is and interesting effect but I'm not sure it is as complex a layering technique as we have seen in the other films (House of Flying Daggers with its false personas, 2046 with its blending of past, present and fictional future, or Dolls with its superimposition of puppets onto humans.) Nevertheless on this one point I would like you to spend a bit of analytic cognition: Is that there is layering significant or just a technique to kick up interpretive possibilities (where "significant" means suggests something about the country's culture or Asian culture).
- Modes of communication: All three of these story segments place emphasis on letters (although what a "letter" is is different depending on the historical time period at hand). Are letters serving the same function in every story or are there important differences? We have not had a lot of letters in our films but we HAVE had a lot of difference qualities to lovers' communication (sparse or open, honest or not, etc.) So, in addition to considering the specific function of letters, please fit it into the larger issue of the status of communication between lovers (and what, if anything, might be culturally suggestive.)
- Use of music: This director loves using music in his films. Lyrics were central to House of Flying Daggers and the "atmospherics" of music were central to 2046. Please consider and compare this film in the context of those.
- The important end sequence of Story One and Story Two rely heavily on music and both Story One and Story two begin with "theme" songs
- Story One and Story Two play some of their songs in full, which is somewhat unusal for a film
- Story Three is a bit different but the end sequence still relies heavily on its theme song and music is central throughout (protagonist is a singer, too)
Possible topics for this session (but see "Thoughts" below):
- Letters in this Story One.
All three segments of this film take nearly all of the in-class time. That means:
- We start PROMPTLY.
- Discussions are brief to nonexistent. (In the summer they are breif.) Consider arranging a discussion hour with your partner or someone else in the class to enrich your ideas. (However, if your partner and you are using this film for your JES you cannot discuss with one another.) Or, jot down during the film questions you would like to bring up in the general discussion after we have finished screening the film.
- Try your best to have ideas before I call on you; we cannot wait for you to formulate your thoughts after your name has been called.
Required—to be completed for today's session
Access through sidebar tab FILM MODULES:
✓ Three Times: General comments
✓ Three Times: Director (just kick around a little bit on the links to get a sense of him)
✓ Three Times: Characters
✓ Three Times: Characters comments on the module for this day
✓ Three Times: First session questions (scene summaries optional) on the module for this day
nothing yet ...
*THOUGHTS: Reading before class probably helps follow session content, reading afterwards might help consolidate notes, revisiting for tests is recommended. Content might be added before class or anytime up until about 24 hours ahead of a midterm.
*TEXTS, MULTIMEDIA NOTES, LINKS: If I have read from something, shown something or presented audio that is not elsewhere mentioned, I usually include that information here for the curious, sometime after the class (since I often make last-minute decisions about including something). It might take a while and sometimes I forget. You can email me.
*OTHER: When possible I note here names, places, and other details that I have mentioned in a lecture that would otherwise not be accessible in the assigned materials or easily located on your own. As with "TEXTS ..." this is usually sometime after class and, again, I might not be able to get around to doing it.