While never-ending rain and a strange disease spread by cockroaches ravage Taiwan, a plumber makes a hole between two apartments and the inhabitants of each form a unique connection, enacted in musical numbers.
Tsai Ming-liang returns with this latest entry in his Walker series, in which his monk acquires an unexpected acolyte in the form of Denis Lavant as he makes his way through the streets of a sun-dappled Marseille.
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 theater used for the film was actually on the brink of being closed, and shortly before the film was released it was indeed closed, in an strange example of life imitating art. See more »
Do you know this theater is haunted?
This theater is haunted.
[calling out to departing man]
See more »
It has been nearly two weeks since I saw Bu jian bu san (Goodbye, Dragon Inn) and I still can't get some of the images out of my mind. This is partly due to the fact that the director (Ming- liang Tsai) holds onto an image, a scene, long after, or before any action occurs. In doing so he insists the viewer bear witness to its own self re-presentation in the form of characters in a film they are watching.
Two of the finest moments in the film are moments where the camera is pointed back towards the mostly empty chairs of the cinema itself. In one, an actor who appeared in the original kung-fu film Dragon Inn watches a scene from the original. As the camera settles on his face, we are pulled ever closer, listening to the original's soundtrack while watching the actor as a receptive viewer. We are watching the emotions of time and change develop on his face. Finally, with his face in extreme close-up and the water glistening in his eyes with the film's light reflecting in them a single tear falls down his cheek.
Near the end of the film as the old classic has ended the camera is again pointed to the empty chairs of the cinema. There is no one there, then on the far side of the frame the ticket woman enters with bucket and mop. She walks across, up the stairs, back down and out the left side of the screen, literally walking off the frame as the camera remains motionless. He holds this shot for what many will argue is an interminable time. But he wants you to really take in this shot, consider what you are witness of, think about your own place now, viewing a film.
There is far more to this film than just these two scenes. They just exemplify the kind of artful ways this film explores the nature of action and reaction. What adds to this already complex and studied examination of cinema and the cinema viewing experience is the exquisite cinematography done by Ben-Bong Liao. If you love film, especially film that asks you to fully participate in the moment, then find a screening of this film and get lost in it.
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