Goodbye, Dragon Inn

Goodbye, Dragon Inn ★★★★★

Goodbye, Dragon Inn is the kind of movie experience viewers have to submit themselves to. It's not your usual edge-of-the-seat fare where you expect all sorts of dramatic twists and turns. So it's up to the viewers to decide whether they'll give in to the uniform pacing and rhythm of the film or not. It's somewhat ironic that Ming-liang Tsai opens it with a clips of the classic Taiwanese film Dragon Inn which is full and action and suspense. Goodbye, Dragon Inn isn't devoid of dialogue or diegetic sound, but it's used sparingly, which only makes us more aware of its presence.

The film is set during the final night of an old Taipei cinema that is closing down. As you can imagine, there aren't many people in the cinema. But many of those that are there are certainly quite unique. Then there's the handicapped ticket woman who is usually seen trying to locate the projectionist. It turns out that she has some feelings for him. An older gentleman who appeared to be crying while watching Dragon Inn turns out to be one of the actors from the movie. Really incredible. Outside the theater, he meets another older man who had been watching the film with his grandson, and this man also starred in the classic

Customary for Ming-liang, there's little camera movement and most shots are sequence shots. One near of the end, of the now empty theater, lasts for at least ten minutes! And it's incredibly moving. Maybe because by the time it arrives you feel that it's some sort of a personal loss. Those shots had truly made you tangibly aware of the place and its importance.

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