Goodbye, Dragon Inn (2003)

Goodbye, Dragon Inn (2003)

Not Rated

Affectionate and contemplative, Tsai Ming-liang welcomes us to an old cinema in Taipei

The Very Best

8.2

Movie

Taiwan
Japanese, Mandarin
Comedy, Drama
2003
TSAI MING-LIANG
Chen Chao-jung, Chen Shiang-Chyi, Lee Kang-sheng
82 min

What it's about

On a dark and rainy night, a historic and regal Taipei cinema sees its final film: 1967 martial arts feature "Dragon Inn". As the film plays, the lives of the theater's various employees and patrons intersect, and two ghostly actors arrive to mourn the passing of an era.

The take

Serene and almost silent, Goodbye, Dragon Inn is a film contemplating an old movie theater in Taipei. In its heyday, this cinema was jam-packed and full of eager eyes watching the 1967 Wuxia classic Dragon Inn, but now it’s nearly empty for its last screening. Despite the lack of attendees, this cinema still has some life. Like the annoying audience members we're all familiar with, the moviegoers still noisily chew on popcorn, put their feet on the headrest in front of them, and refuse to remain silent when walking. Director Tsai Ming-liang affectionately captures moviegoers in their natural element, recreating an experience so nostalgic it makes me want to go back to the theaters. Watching this, post-pandemic in the age of streaming, reminds us of the ways we still try to connect in the cinema in real life.

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