Fri, Aug 22, 2003 - Page 19 News List

Tsai's latest film to compete in Venice

By Yu Sen-lun  /  STAFF REPORTER

Tsai Ming-liang, Taiwan's most frequent presence at international film festivals.


Tsai Ming-liang (蔡明亮) remains the most prolific and most frequent film fest participant among Taiwanese filmmakers. His latest film Goodbye, Dragon Inn (不散), has been selected for the competition category at the 60th Venice Film Festival. The film festival will take place from Aug 27 to Sept 6.

Prior to the film's departure for Venice, Homegreen Films, Tsai's own production company, has decided to open a one-week screening in Taipei from today until next Thursday, with screening each day at 7pm at Galaxy Cinema. The film will be officially released in Taiwan at the end of the year.

Goodbye, Dragon Inn makes use of many of Tsai's favorite actors such as Lee Kang-sheng (李康生), who appears in all his films, Chen Shiang-chyi (陳湘琪), who appeared in The River and What Time is It There?, Yang Kuei-mei (楊貴媚) from Vive L'Amor and The Hole, and Miao Tien (苗天), who always plays the father figure in Tsai's films.

The story of Goodbye, Dragon Inn take place in an old movie theater, a few hours before it is destined to close for good. On this very last day the theater plays a martial arts classic, King Hu's (胡金銓) 1967 movie Dragon Inn (龍門客棧). As the rain pours down, a young Japanese man joins the very few other people in the cinema.

Two old men appear at the theater, shocking the Japanese man, for they are Miao Tien and Shih Chun (石雋), the two warriors in the film Dragon Inn. Watching the movie, they look old, reminiscing and mourning.

Tsai, with his dark sense of humor, pays tribute to the old movie theaters that were part of his childhood days. "When I heard that the Fuho Theater [in Taipei] was to close, I had an impulse to shoot a film about it. Now I look back, it was actually the theater calling to me, saying `come and film me!'" Tsai said. The theater makes an appearance in Tsai's What Time is It There?

London-based film critic and scholar Tony Ryans describes the film as "what may be Tsai's most brilliant metaphor yet." "A lament for the death of feelings framed as a valediction to an entire era of Chinese cinema and an obituary to film-going in general.

Goodbye, Dragon Inn will be Tsai's second entry in the Venice Film Festival. The last time Tsai joined the event was with his second film Vive L'Amour (愛情萬歲), for which he took home a Fipresci Award.

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