The film follows a timeless couple in love as, enacted by the same performers, they take on different identities through three separate periods. In "A Time for Love," Chen (Chang Chen) meets May (Shu Qi) at his favourite pool hall. It is 1966 and their fleeting, dreamy romance is not defined so much by words as by the smoky atmosphere and the radio hits of the time. The Platters' "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" and Aphrodite's Child's "Rain and Tears" accentuate the melancholy that surfaces when passing moments instantly become cherished memories. Moving from this musical snapshot, the film flows smoothly into a solemn drama of a concubine (Shu) and her master (Chang) in 1911. He is obsessed with his nation's freedom, yet incapable of giving liberty or emotional security to his beloved. Titled "A Time for Freedom," this subtly powerful, entirely silent second episode, is clad in rich colours and photographed in fluid long takes. The third segment, "A Time for Youth," shifts from an era of stately quiet to chaotic, contemporary Taipei. Jing (Shu), an epileptic singer, lives through the intense disarray of her youth, sharing her love between a woman and a man (Chang). A cold, bluish light bathes the present day, silhouetting the romance against the ruins of morality and dissipating the spell of undying love.