Saturday, March 12, 2022

Taiwanese films Dragon Inn (龍門客棧), Goodbye, Dragon Inn (不散) in Pittsburgh, from March 18; double feature discounts (and Taiwanese snacks) available.

The Harris Theater will show the 2003 Taiwanese film Goodbye Dragon Inn (不散) from March 18 through 24, as well as the 1967 Taiwanese film Dragon Inn (龍門客棧) which features in its plot on March 19, 20, and 23. A summary of the former:
Like the Royal Theater in The Last Picture Show and the title movie house in Cinema Paradiso, the Fu-Ho Grand, a movie palace in Taipei, is closing its doors. Its valedictory screening: King Hu’s 1967 wuxia epic Dragon Inn, playing to a motley smattering of spectators, including two stars of Hu’s original opus, Miao Tien and Shih Chun, watching their younger selves with tears in their eyes. Developing the slyest, most delicate of character arcs involving a lovelorn usherette, a Japanese tourist cruising for companionship, and an oblivious projectionist played by Lee Kang-sheng, Tsai crafts a film both powerfully melancholy and deadpan funny. The sense that moviegoing as a communal experience is slipping away takes on a profound and painful resonance in Goodbye, Dragon Inn, a film too multifaceted to reduce to a simple valentine to the age of pre-streaming cinema.
And a synopsis of the latter:
A watershed in the history of Taiwanese popular cinema, the film-within-a-film in Tsai Ming-liang’s Goodbye, Dragon Inn, and the first movie that Hu, who is to the wuxia what John Ford is to the Western, made after fleeing his Shaw Bros. serfdom in Hong Kong to freedom in Taiwan. The emancipatory joy is palpable. The movie’s plot concerns the three marked-for-death children of a framed-up imperial minister as they’re pursued by a unit of ruthless assassins, the Black Arrow Troop, to the Dragon Gate Inn, a remote redoubt where both sides dig in and feel one another out in preparation for an inevitable showdown—but this conveys nothing of the elation of the filmmaking. Unlike many contemporary wuxia directors, including the good ones, Hu painstakingly pre-prepared and composed his films. Here, adapting the music of the traditional Beijing Opera to the rhythms of the fight film, he creates something that feels both ancient and new. This thrilling landmark of film history returns to the screen in a new, beautifully restored 4K digital transfer, created from the original negative.
There is a special promotion on for those who buy tickets to both movies as part of a double feature:
Special double-feature pricing is available when purchasing both the Dragon Inn and Goodbye, Dragon Inn on March 19, 20, and 23 – save $3 per ticket. All double-feature guests also receive complimentary light Taiwanese snacks between the films!
Tickets are available online. The Harris Theater is located in downtown's Cultural District (map).