More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Advertisement

Overall Rating
3.31

Awesome: 26.92%
Worth A Look: 23.08%
Average: 11.54%
Pretty Bad30.77%
Total Crap: 7.69%

3 reviews, 8 user ratings


Latest Reviews

Fortress, The (2017) by Jay Seaver

MFA by Jay Seaver

You Only Live Once by Jay Seaver

November (2017) by Jay Seaver

Friendly Beast by Jay Seaver

Foreigner, The (2017) by Jay Seaver

Tom of Finland by Rob Gonsalves

Happy Death Day by Jay Seaver

78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene by Jay Seaver

Death Note: Light Up the New World by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed


Goodbye, Dragon Inn
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Greg Muskewitz

"A confession of love to cinema."
5 stars

Taiwanese filmmaker Tsai Ming-liang follows up his homage to French New Wave cinema in What Time Is it There?, with an even more personal and poetic tribute to movie-going and a sweet parable about loneliness and the invasion of personal space.

Enter the Fu Hu Grand Theater on a very rainy night, showing the 1966 martial arts film Dragon Inn to next to no one. Ming-liang’s extreme minimalism in style stretches to the storytelling as well; there is no story being told as there are glimpses of life caught between blinks. Shot by Liao Ben-bong, Ming-liang uses the framing device of setting up a composition and letting the action (so to call it) come and go within it. The film is slower and less eventful than What Time … ?, but the camera movements are actually more liberal. In observance are the ticket-taker girl who walks with a gimp, a chain-smoking projectionist, a very small handful of audience members — most using the theater as a sex agora — and a couple of “spirits” from Dragon Inn longing for the old days. Ming-liang has created a metaphor for the movie-going experience, and seemingly a partial criticism especially of American audiences. He pokes fun at the nuisance of careless and rude viewers — in a huge auditorium, the serious movie-watcher attracts a woman who must put her feet on the seat next to his head, a couple who cannot eat their snacks any louder, a serial seat-changer, likely looking to pick the guy up. He shows the cinema as a place to come for sex, exhibited by the inference of sex in film (though not in the film they’re watching), as well as the long, cold concrete hallways where guys brush up against each other for reasons not so unknown. Apart from the subtitled dialogue of the film that’s being watched, Ming-liang’s first dialogue doesn’t come until after the 30-minute mark, where under half-a-dozen monosyllabic lines are shared, and then not again until shortly before the film’s close. But what’s going on in Goodbye Dragon Inn doesn’t need or have words to communicate what the experience is about, or to pierce the quiet loneliness that the people who come there to watch, live in. Each of the characters are there for a reason, whether it be work, film-viewing, sex, etc., and each one of them has an idea of what they want out of that experience, which may not be the same thing as the next person. Everyone has his or her small amount of personal space invaded, from viewing space to working space, to peeing space. And there’s plenty of time in the short-and-sweet 82-minutes to examine the space of the aging and soon-to-be-closed theaterhouse, to disconnectedly follow the ticket-taker who clicks and clomps up and down endless stairwells, to sit in the projectionist’s booth with her and watch a cigarette burn, to hover in the men’s urinal as the timid sex addicts stand there waiting to make their move, etc. It’s determinedly challenging, not for a typical multiplex audience (who, though they found the annoyances of loud-eating and foot-putting funny, had no qualms about being disruptive and invading my personal space by complaining throughout the film), but there is a strong commiseration, I think, among lovers of film that is not to be missed here. Ming-liang writes an eloquent billet-doux that has the heart-felt sensibilities and emotions of what loving and living with film are about. Don’t mistake it for tedium, it’s pure appreciation. With Lee Kang-sheng, Chen Shiang-chyi, Mitamura Kiyonobu, Miao Tien, and Shi Jun.

[Absolutely to be seen.]

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=8207&reviewer=172
originally posted: 02/04/04 03:47:45
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Palm Springs Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Palm Springs Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Vancouver Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Vancouver Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Chicago Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Chicago Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Sydney Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Sydney Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Seattle Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Seattle Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 San Francisco Film Festival. For more in the 2004 San Francisco Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Los Angeles Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Los Angeles Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Brisbane Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Brisbane Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Minneapolis/St.Paul Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Minneapolis/St.Paul Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

6/10/13 PAUL SHORTT STRANGE BUT MASTERFUL MEDITATION ON THE EXPERIENCE OF GOING TO THE MOVIES 5 stars
5/07/07 Bill I love Hole, The River, What TIME is it There?; visual/character techniques repeat. 3 stars
8/16/05 Richie Cataulin Like watching grass grow. Still, I was intrigued by the film to watch the whole thing. 3 stars
3/20/05 jpb The director's surname is "Tsai", not "Ming-Liang". That said, his movies are a bit dull... 3 stars
10/22/04 martinw boring, too long 2 stars
4/26/04 Bill Crewe An initially interesting idea stretched to eternity. 2 stars
11/06/03 nigelbye Pretentious Bullsh*t. Thoroughly tedious. 1 stars
11/04/03 Graeme Miller This film has just been shown at the 2003 London film festival. 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:


Discuss this movie in our forum

USA
  15-Oct-2003

UK
  N/A

Australia
  N/A


Directed by
  Ming-liang Tsai

Written by
  Ming-liang Tsai

Cast
  Kang-Sheng Lee
  Tien Miao



Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
eFilmCritic.com: Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast