Like the Royal Theater in The Last Picture Show and the title movie house in Cinema Paradiso, the Fu-Ho Grand, a movie palace in Taipei, is closing its doors. Its valedictory screening: King Hu’s 1967 wuxia epic Dragon Inn, playing to a motley smattering of spectators, including two stars of Hu’s original opus, Miao Tien and Shih Chun, watching their younger selves with tears in their eyes. Developing the slyest, most delicate of character arcs involving a lovelorn usherette, a Japanese tourist cruising for companionship, and an oblivious projectionist played by Lee Kang-sheng, Tsai crafts a film both powerfully melancholy and deadpan funny. The sense that moviegoing as a communal experience is slipping away takes on a profound and painful resonance in Goodbye, Dragon Inn, a film too multifaceted to reduce to a simple valentine to the age of pre-streaming cinema.
Directed by Tsai Ming-Liang