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A Japanese tourist takes refuge from a rainstorm inside a once-popular movie theater, a decrepit old barn of a cinema that is screening a martial arts classic, King Hu's 1966 "Dragon Inn." Even with the rain bucketing down outside, it doesn't pull much of an audience -- and some of those who have turned up are less interested in the movie than in the possibility of meeting a stranger in the dark. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
The first line of dialogue appears 40 minutes into the film. See more »
Teacher Miao. Shih-Chun.
Teacher, you came to see the movie?
I haven't seen a movie in a long time.
No one goes to the movies anymore, and no one remembers us anymore.
See more »
Tsai Ming Liang's recent piece "Goodbye, Dragon Inn" (Bu San) is a film chock full of beautiful color and rich, textured moods. It features the characteristic pacing of Taiwanese film, and it is composed of shot upon remarkable shot of a crumbling movie theatre in its final days, playing the last runs of "Dragon Gate Inn", a martial art classic Dir. by King Hu. Some of the stark imagery lingers, and it is just the pure action of the actors (there is no dialogue in the film for the first 45 minutes) that makes the film a profound stylistic achievement. There are some appearances by the original actors of The Dragon Gate Inn film (Tien Miao, for one); and Tsai Ming Liang's favorite actor Lee-Kang Sheng shows up at the end as the film projectionist. There's also a fine performance by Chen Shiang-chyi, who plays the limping "heroine" of the film, if such a thing exists in this movie. A great film overall, and a cinematic work that tries to say a very heartfelt and melancholic "goodbye" to not only "Dragon Gate Inn", but also to the old cultural and historical values that are perhaps beginning to fade in Taiwan.
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