The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, April 22-28

04/22/2015 9:09 AM |


Goodbye, Dragon Inn (2003)
Directed by Tsai Ming-liang
Drifting in real time around a screening of King Hu’s wuxia classic Dragon Inn as it plays as the final screening at an iconic Taipei cinema, Tsai’s feature was expertly pitched towards the rapturous critical reception it (deservedly) received. Coming at the cusp of the much-fabled “death of cinema” and folding sheafs of time and legend into an autoerotic ouroboros of cinema spectatorship, perhaps it mirrored the emotional life of many critics, even those that weren’t hunting for gay couplings in the bathroom as one central character does here. (Maybe they should try?) What that reception hid, however, is just how punk it is, and just how deep that eroticism goes. Easily the most infuriating of his films, it taunts the audience with shots as gorgeous and evocative as they are desperately dull, even by Tsai’s ultra-minimalist static long take standards—check that legendarily endless shot of an empty cinema. If you say you’re not bored you’re lying, but that boredom begins to mirror the delayed release of the sexual act, both elegiac and edifying. Jeffrey Dunn Rovinelli (Apr 26, 6:30pm at the Museum of the Moving Image’s Tsai series; preceded by the 2002 short The Skywalk Is Gone)