Thoughts on Goodbye, Dragon Inn

Sunday, July 18, 2010 11:14 PM By Simon

-In a decrepit Taipei movie theatre on its last night, a screening of Dragon Inn, several patrons and staff silently go about their subplots.

-The first line of dialogue not overheard from the movie isn't until roughly forty minutes in. There is almost no camera movement, almost ten-minute shots of a crippled (it's never explained how or in what way, just that we can plainly see she has a limp) ticket girl cleaning the empty theatre at the end of the night, a young Japanese tourist wandering around, looking for what Wikipedia tells me is a 'homosexual encounter', two old men who had acted in the movie (Shih Chun and Tien Miao as themselves) in brief nostalgia, one with their grandson. Etc.

-While at times a captivating, beautiful thing (in that way you find yourself when you sit on a park bench and watch another guy do the same for an hour), an overall a sweet and melancholy (both) ode and farewell to the moviegoing experience, and a quiet nod to the assholes that ruined it, the ones who shuffle about seats and crack peanuts and treat it like a party, leading to some absurdly amusing bits, it is impossible to watch this movie, with its unbelievably long segments of silence and inactivity.

-Seriously.

-I have me a theory: with directors who feature extended shots of busywork that's tedious and whatnot, they're covertly trying to rub our own dull existences in our faces. No matter how interesting we think ourselves, in the end, nobody would want to watch us do anything. We suck, basically.

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