The upcoming fantastical time-travelling epic The Fountain is not the only movie of 2006 with a triptych love story starring two beautiful actors. Earlier this year Hou Hsiao-hsien's Three Times premiered to great acclaim. It arrived on DVD last month so I thought it was a good time to gaze at its stars. Taiwanese sex symbol Qi Shu is the female lead and this film marks her second tour of movie star duty for the acclaimed director. The first was Millenium Mambo, 2001. She and her screen lover, Chen Chang each play three roles in different time frames, though this is no futuristic epic but a meditation on Taiwan's history.
Neither star has what could be considered international name recognition. They haven't reached the remarkable levels of a Ziyi Zhang or a Tony Leung. But they have the first part of the stardom equation covered: familiar faces.
In addition to the serene presence Chen Chang lent Three Times you've seen him in pivotal second tier roles in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (as Ziyi Zhang's desert lover), Happy Together (as Tony Leung's post-heartbreak friend), and in a bit role in 2046.
Tony Leung or Jackie Chan fans will recognize Qi Shu as their romantic sparring partner from the comedies Love Me, Love My Money and Gorgeous respectively. Gorgeous is an apt description, yes? She was also part of the girl power martial arts flick So Close and the object of transport in the Jason Statham action flick The Transporter. A little known fact about Qi Shu: She does not sleep, nor eat, nor even exist outside the movie set. Or if she does any of those things she does them on her lunch breaks since she's found the time to make 54 (you heard me) movies in the past 10 years. And to think I bitched about Cate Blanchett's excessive filming schedule! Qi Shu recently won the Best Actress Golden Horse for her work in Three Times. Though if you ask me, Chen Chang is the MVP, believeable in all three time periods when Shu seemed too modern and inexpressive in the middle story.
I couldn't find much English language material about either actor once I got curious about them. They both spell their names in several different ways which makes it even more difficult to get acquainted with them. For instance. Chang Chen also goes by Zhang Zhen but Zhang Zhen happens to be a professor who wrote an 'amorous history of the silver screen.' Not the same person --though the amorous history discovery is pretty funny considering the amorous feelings Chen can stir in his obsessive fans and tearful Taiwanese actresses. Hee. As for Qi Shu, it's easier to find info on her. There's plenty for salivating fans at this expansive fansite.
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Chen Chang, movies, Qi Shu, film, foreignfilm, Taiwan, Three Times, cinema