Goodbye, Dragon Inn

Rated NR 2004

It's art, but it sure as hell isn't entertainment. Chinese cult director Tasi Ming-Liang has made an 81-minute tribute to silence, inertia, and boredom. The film takes place in a decaying movie theater, a cavernous palace that chills the bones with its empty spaces, eerie drips, and creaking stairs. A few men sit, watching a film; sometimes they get up to go to the bathroom. They smoke, or they don't. A woman sits, raises her legs over the seats in front of her, and loses a shoe. And that's about it. There are four lines of dialogue: Somebody mentions the theater's ghosts, which is the film's theme. ("Nobody goes to the cinema anymore.") The frames are beautiful, but the shots are interminable, often empty of people and almost always devoid of action. If watching a disabled woman clomp up a spiral staircase for five minutes -- Step. Clomp. Step. Clomp. -- is your idea of a good time, this film's for you. Otherwise, steer clear.


Goodbye, Dragon Inn

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