Goodbye Dragon Inn


“I once had a dream, or a vision, and I imagined that dream to be of importance to other people, so I wrote the manuscript and made the film. But it is not until the moment when my dream meets with your emotions and your minds that my shadows come to life. It is your recognition that brings them to life. It is you indifference that kills them. I hope that you will understand; that you when you leave the cinema will take with you an experience or a sudden thought—or maybe a question. The efforts of my friends and myself have then not been in vain…”
— Ingmar Bergman

Sunset Boulevard | Billy Wilder | 1950
Shirin | Abbas Kiarostami | 2008
Taxi Driver | Martin Scorsese | 1976
Goodbye, Dragon Inn | Tsai Ming-liang | 2003
Stranger Than Paradise | Jim Jarmusch | 1984
Vivre Sa Vie | Jean-Luc Godard | 1962
The Aviator | Martin Scorsese | 2004
Tropical Malady | Apichatpong Weerasethakul | 2004
Amélie | Jean-Pierre Jeunet | 2001
#ALLMYMOVIES | LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner | 2015

I want to express the failure of erotic desire to be realized in contemporary urban space. I would like to make my films about disappearing, like The Skywalk is Gone [2002] and Goodbye Dragon Inn. The whole theatre is disappearing in that film! This subject is important to me because society changes so fast and everything disappears so fast - historical sites, culture. One day I walked to the area where Lee Kang-Sheng was selling watches [in What Time is it There?], and I realized that ‘the skywalk is gone.’ It happens in Asia like that, things just disappear. People in their forties have no way of finding traces of their childhood. Modern people are afraid of disappearance. Living in Taipei, for example, we constantly have to deal with compelling visual change. We ask the question: what do you love the most? Who do you love the most? You will lose them - it will happen in modern society. My films ask the question: how we can face the disappearance? The loss?

-Tsai Ming-liang



I was raised by my maternal grandparents from the age of three. My parents sent me to live with them after the birth of my little brother–I already had an older brother and sister and my father ran a noodle stall next to the local temple, so sending me to live with my grandparents could relieve their burden a bit. Actually, my grandparents didn’t live all that far from my parents, but my father would only come to see me about once a week; I spent all the other time with my grandparents. My grandparents also ran a noodle stall in their neighborhood, but there was something very special about them–my grandfather loved movies and my grandmother, besides the movies, also loved fiction. She read all kinds of literature, martial arts novels, romance fiction, she read everything. She is the reason that I today have such a strong affinity for literature. And they are also the reason that I fell in love with film…

My grandparents always sold noodles at night. They had a set schedule, bringing the cart out around 5:00 and finishing up around 10:00 or 11:00, but movies back then always had two screenings, which were at 6:45 and 9:15, so my grandparents would take turns: one would watch the early show while the other tended the stall, and then they’d switch. Grandpa usually went first and brought me along with him; when he got back and it was Grandma’s turn, she would bring me with her for the second screening. So every day I watched two films back to back…

When I got a bit older I started watching King Hu’s films, like Dragon Gate Inn, which I first saw when I was eleven years old. I still remember that very clearly. And Come Drink with Me, which I saw even earlier. When I was a boy I used to love pretending to be a marital arts hero from the movies and having make-believe battles with my little brother. I would always play the role of the fighting heroine Golden Swallow from Come Drink with Me. Since my grandfather and parents both cooked noodles, we had sets of these huge, two-foot-long chopsticks used for making noodles, which I would use as my weapons. (Laughs)

Tsai Ming-liang