Goodbye Dragon Inn (2003)

The man: Do you know this theater is haunted?


The man: This theater is haunted.


The man: Ghosts.

[walks away]

Japanese tourist: [calling out to departing man] I’m Japanese.

The man: Good bye.

Japanese tourist: Good bye. —quotes from IMDB

I have to mention this movie because it is, hands down, the simplest and yet oddest movie I’ve ever seen. This Taiwanese film is listed as a comedy and a drama. I rented it back when we had movie rental places; I had selected it because it was described as a “valentine for movie lovers”.

It also won a bunch of awards and got a great review in the New Yorker:

The plot, if you can call it that, is that it is the last night before a Chinese movie theatre closes down. It is showing an old kung fun movie. There are a handful of patrons in the seats. Some may be ghosts.

That’s it!

There is more action on the screen than in the theatre. There are exactly 14 words spoken in the entire film. The biggest action sequence is watching the ticket taker with a bad limp, walk up the stairs to give a sticky bun to the projectionist. It is obvious that she does this with great care and love and significant effort–all lost on the projectionist who barely notices her. She then walks back the way she came.

90 some odd minutes of film, folks, and I’ve just told you all you need to know.

And yet, this movie won awards… so I must not have received the valentine…  For me, this movie is like watching paint dry…and perhaps that is its essence… the final moments of a theatre in its death throws…

If you have time to kill and are curious, this movie is oddly memorable for being so very slow and uneventful… perhaps you’ll love it. If you do get it, and do enjoy it, please let me know why!!

Link to YouTube trailer:

What the heck did I just watch?

I really have no idea how to rate this film. I am quite sure that I just don’t get it as others obviously rave about it. Perhaps I’ll watch it again in ten years and see how it goes. I may rave then, too. I’ll give it three for totally bucking the norm, having virtually no dialog or plot, it is all symbolic and whatever you bring to it. I’m going to call this a Buddhist as we are ever present in the moment, with NOWHERE to go, it’s just the experience.

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