i saw this in 35mm and honestly tsai is as good as cinema gets. though this film was a test in patience, once i let myself get settled in it, i became mesmerized by its languid pace. tsai's films have a language all of his own. extremely minimalist yet hypnotic, hilarious, and soul-crushing all at once.
Tsai imagines the cinema as a place where we bridge the space between us, which explains why this film defies conventional etiquette and has film-goers sit as close as possible in nearly abandoned space. But it's hard to find connection in a ghost town, and instead we might find the most exaggerated forms of ourselves (like peeing for 5 mins), which is of course what cinema also offers.
A film that has the effect of being not an elegy itself but already its memory, and one more poignant for coming to us in such immersive vividness, like its subject was something we cherished so profoundly - and long for so deeply - that the memory of its elegy was ingrained into our being. This is almost meta Tsai. Desperately beautiful cinema.
this film strikes an emotional note of longing & somehow holds it for the duration - makes each mundane movement & motive ache with the monumental - cinema is rarely this present, this empathic, this compassionate, this tender, this ineffable - cinema as an act of love - the movie theatre as hall of our eternal yearning for connection
"no one goes to the movies anymore" - one character remarks. Although often regarded as a homage to Dragon Inn, GDI is more about the characters who haunt the theater. The contrast btw the towering images of Dragon Inn and the grim aspects of the characters' lives keeps the film formful. It's time for old Dragon to go but not into oblivion. In the end, a character limps away in the rain like a lonesome hero.
Probably one of the most sincere and peculiar homages ever paid to movie theaters. Ming-liang displays here his usual imagery while showing his most personal side. "Good Bye, Dragon Inn" is an accessible and comprehensive film that will enthrall everyone looking for contemplative cinema.
At this point all that had seemed interesting in early Tsai has petrified to the point of this utterly lifeless and vacant so-called homage to cinema's glorious past aimed squarely at the Art Film crowd, for whom no number of shots of people shuffling down aisles is enough of an endurance test.
Tsai shows us how a carefully constructed depiction of the dreary last night at a dilapidated theater can comprise a compelling film, even without the trappings of lavish dialogue, special effects, car chases, or narrative tricks. Cinephiles acknowledge that, at its best, the cinematic experience is profound, mesmeric, and transformative; the theater is our temple to that mystical power. This is a fitting tribute.