Goodbye, Dragon Inn
Is cinema really dying? As movie houses close and corporations dominate, the art form is at risk of changing beyond recognition. In this wide-ranging and elegiac essay, Nick Pinkerton reflects upon Tsai Ming-liang’s 2003 film Goodbye, Dragon Inn, a modern classic haunted by the ghosts and portents of a culture in flux.
In an old Taipei movie theatre, on the eve of a ‘temporary closing’, King Hu’s 1967 wuxia classic Dragon Inn plays to a dwindling audience. Lonely souls cruise the aisles for companionship while two actors from Hu’s film watch themselves writ large, perhaps for the last time.
Nick Pinkerton is a Cincinnati-born, Brooklyn-based writer focused on moving image-based art. His writing has appeared in Film Comment, Sight & Sound, Artforum, Frieze, Reverse Shot, The Guardian, 4Columns, The Baffler, Rhizome, Harper’s and the Village Voice, among other venues, and he operates the Substack newsletter Employee Picks.