Capital Celluloid 2023 — Day 307: Sat Nov 4

 Goodbye, Dragon Inn (Ming-liang, 2003): Garden Cinema, 6pm

Barbican introduction (for a previous screening):
Susan Sontag wrote that movie-going is an essential part of the experience we want from film – the experience of surrendering to and being transported by what’s on the screen. It’s not just a question of the size of the screen; to be properly “kidnapped” in this way by a movie, she writes, “you have to be in a movie theatre, seated in the dark among anonymous strangers.” It’s never the same at home. Now that there are so many other ways of watching films, the centrality of movie-going to the movie experience is sadly much diminished. This beautiful, mournful 2003 film, a kind of Taiwanese Last Picture Show, is an affectionate tribute to the film medium, cinemas and the pleasures of cinema-going.

Chicago Reader review:
For all its minimalism, Tsai Ming-liang's 2003 masterpiece manages to be many things at once: a Taiwanese
Last Picture Show, a failed heterosexual love story, a gay cruising saga, a melancholy tone poem, a mordant comedy, a creepy ghost tale. A cavernous Taipei movie palace on its last legs is (improbably) showing King Hu's groundbreaking 1966 hit Dragon Inn to a sparse audience (which includes a couple of that film's stars) while a rainstorm rages outside. As the martial-arts classic unfolds on the screen, so do various elliptical intrigues in the theater—the limping cashier, for instance, pines after the projectionist, even though she never sees him. Tsai has a flair for skewed compositions and imparts commanding presence to seemingly empty pockets of space and time.

Jonathan Rosenbaum 

Here (and above) is the trailer.

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