Goodbye, Dragon Inn (Bu San)
Introduced by Nick Pinkerton
Dir. Tsai Ming-liang. 2003, 82 mins. 35mm. With Lee Kang-sheng, Chen Shiang-chyi, Kiyonobu Mitamura. It’s the last night for a crumbling Fu-Ho movie theater in Taipei, and the film is Dragon Inn (1966), the seminal wuxia by Taiwan-based filmmaker King Hu. The kinetic soundtrack contrasts the theater’s melancholy, slow-moving denizens, including a female box-office attendant with a limp, a cruising Japanese tourist, and two of the stars of Hu’s film. Filled with expertly timed sight gags, Goodbye, Dragon Inn is Tsai’s rueful backwards glance at the disappearance of the filmgoing culture of his youth—and one of the seminal films of the 21st century. “Its simple, meticulously composed frames are full of mystery and feeling; it’s an action movie that stands perfectly still” (A.O. Scott, The New York Times). Preceded by The Skywalk Is Gone (2002, 25 mins. 35mm), a return to the characters of What Time Is It Over There?
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