Genre and Quotation in Goodbye, Dragon Inn
Tsai Ming-liang’s 2003 Goodbye, Dragon Inn depicts a nearly vacant cinema screening King Hu’s martial arts film Dragon Gate Inn (1967) on its last night of business. The film’s composition of the theatre, empty and decaying, marks it as a haunted house, and the few people present as ghosts lingering nostalgically lamenting the theatre’s impending closure. “Consumption,” thus, offers a reading of Goodbye, Dragon Inn attending to the intertextual invocation of Dragon Gate Inn as well as the metacinematic focus of the theatre and its operation through the lens of horror film generic conventions. The ghosts populating the theatre present an alternative temporality that values and seeks to preserve the past. Yet the anomie infecting them, characteristically of Tsai’s films, prevents anything more than a temporary nostalgia that cannot adequately establish the past as a viable temporal mode. In the end, the theatre closes and the ghosts disperse.
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