Like the Royal Theater in The Last Picture Show and the title movie house in Cinema Paradiso, the Fu-Ho is shutting down for good. A palace with seemingly mile-wide rows of red velvet seats, the likes of which you've seen only in your most nostalgic dreams (though they're beginning to fray), the Fu-Ho's valedictory screening is King Hu's 1967 wuxia epic Dragon Inn, playing to a motley smattering of spectators. The standard grievances persist: patrons snack noisily and remove their shoes, treating this temple of cinema like their living room, but as we watch the enveloping film deep into a pandemic, the sense that moviegoing as a communal experience is slipping away takes on a powerful and painful resonance. Yet Goodbye, Dragon Inn, released nearly two decades ago by the internationally acclaimed Tsai Ming-liang (whose latest, Days, premiered at this year's Berlinale), is too multifaceted to collapse into a simple valentine to the age of pre-VOD cinephilia. A minimalist where King Hu was a maximalist, preferring long, static shots and sparse use of dialogue, Tsai rises to the narrative challenges he sets for himself and offers the slyest, most delicate of character arcs (the manager, a woman with an iron brace on her leg, embarks on a torturous odyssey to deliver food to the projectionist, played by Lee Kang-sheng). By the time the possibility arises that the theater is haunted, we've already identified it as a space outside of time-indeed, two stars of Hu's original opus, Miao Tien and Shih Chun, watch their younger selves with tears in their eyes, past and present commingling harmoniously and poignantly. A Metrograph Pictures release.

  • 1 hr 22 minNR
  • Feb 10, 2022
  • Drama

Cast & Crew

  • Chen Shiang-ChyiActor

  • Lee Kang-ShengActor

  • Tsai Ming-LiangDirector

  • Tsai Ming-LiangProducer

  • Tsai Ming-LiangWriter