Goodbye Dragon Inn, is a 2003 Taiwanese film directed by Tsai Ming Liang that takes place in a historic but forgotten Chinese cinema as it shows its final film before closing down. The film being shown on its last night is the 1966 King Hu classic Dragon Inn and only has a handful of viewers.

The film shows us how a cinema which was once prosperous and full of life is now merely an empty shell that on a nightly basis works to entertain a small few who come to escape their busy life. [1]

I was inspired by the film’s lack of dialogue and camera movement to play out such an idea.

I decided to use strings to symbolize the connection people had with the cinema, and the 7 nails that juts out oddly, were the amount of people that were actually there at the last screening.


Among the 7, two of them were actual actors which starred in the film that was showing and one of them even brought along his grandson. As his grandson had no direct connection to the cinema, I connected both of them with one string instead of an individual one for both.

20130623_130916Another person present there was a Japanese man that was there cruising, hopeful for a homosexual encounter. [2] He is represented by a pink string which links him to other people but not the cinema itself as he does not have any direct connection to the film or cinema whatsoever, but only goes there in search of an encounter with a movie goer.

20130623_130921The red string represents a relationship between two people. One of them, who was placed near the word ‘men’ which means door in Chinese as she is the ticket woman. She is in love with the projectionist and is seen doing the little things like leaving food for him anonymously in the film. The string is loosely tied too as their relationship was never strongly defined or recognized by one side of the party.


I then burned most of the strings, to symbolize the connection of the world getting cut off from the cinema except for some with great memories in there.

Just like the end of the film, looking at the board with it’s charred remains and connections, you’ll feel as though you have just witness a death of an important character in film and all you can do now is feel sadness and loss.



1. Wildman, J. 2011. Another Film Review: Goodbye Dragon Inn. [online] Available at: http://anotherfilmreview.blogspot.sg/2011/04/goodbye-dragon-inn.html [Accessed: 23 Jun 2013].

2. Filmjournal.com. 1966. GOODBYE, DRAGON INN. [online] Available at: http://www.filmjournal.com/filmjournal/esearch/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1000720909 [Accessed: 23 Jun 2013].


Here is a good review of the movie: http://www.critical-film.com/reviews/reviews-by-title/item/84-goodbye-dragon-inn.html


About the author:

Dion is a huge fan of horror and gore and detests romance films. Red is not his favorite color.


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