“There are ghosts in this theater! There are ghosts!” Chen Chao-jung says this to the Japanese tourist Kiyonobu Mitamura, who doesn’t seem to understand a word. Amidst flowing water, empty space and lonely souls, Tsai Ming-Liang’s 2003 feature Goodbye Dragon Inn shows an old cinema’s last night in Taipei, screening the wuxia classic Dragon Inn (1967). Goodbye Dragon Inn is a film about memory and time, seeking utopia and hope for the future in cinema’s past. In 2020, the pandemic has hit the film industry badly and cinemas were forced to close for almost half a year. Coincidentally during the release of this film in 2003, the world was suffering from SARS, an earlier strain of the coronavirus. Apparently the ghosts are haunting the theater to this day.
Yun-hua Chen is a film scholar, critic, and curator with a PhD in Film Studies. Her monograph Mosaic Space and Mosaic Auteurs has been published by Neofelis Verlag in Berlin. She worked as the festival director of the 26th dokumentART film festival in Neubrandenburg, as well as a jury member of Fipresci and the Critics’ Award for Arab Films.