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 »
A tone poem on the nature of cinema as an entity, an art-form and a place, Ming-Liang Tsai's "Goodbye, Dragon Inn" is unlike almost any other film you will see. To say it will appeal mostly to people who love cinema may not necessarily be true for here is a film that challenges what many people believe cinema should be; entertainment perhaps, something communal and if we view it as a means of expression surely that expression should be more universal than what we get here and yet for many of us, "Goodbye, Dragon Inn" will strike us as being intensely personal. For many, this is a film that will stir up what drew us to cinema in the first place.
It's almost totally silent, reminding us that in its infancy cinema was silent. We hear snatches of dialogue from the film within the film, (the martial arts classic "Dragon Inn"), that is being shown in the cinema where almost all of 'the action' takes place but there are no sub-titles. There are only a handful of characters in this cavernous auditorium but they don't communicate. If there is any unification between these people it's through the medium of cinema. There is the lame woman who acts as ticket collector and cleaner, the projectionist, an elderly man and his grandson and a number of gay men who cruise the cinema for sex, (though far from explicit these scenes have a remarkable homo-erotic charge making this an essential gay film), and perhaps a ghost.
You could say, of course, that few of these people are there to see the film but were Duane and Sonny there to watch "Red River" in "The Last Picture Show" or was it just a ritual that has to be adhered to as part of a larger scheme, (in their case, growing up; here staving off loneliness). It's also a film about looking; seeing this in a cinema not unlike the one on screen we become part of the experience and it is clear from the extracts from "Dragon Inn" that Ming-Liang Tsai is very much in love with movies.
Nothing really happens and the film moves at a snail's pace yet this is the least boring of art-house movies; it's an immersive experience and whether you see it alone or with others, if you have any feeling for cinema at all, you can't fail but to be touched by it though I suspect, for many, it will be like watching paint dry.
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