The Haunted Movie Theater

Jean Ma

in Melancholy Drift

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9789888028054
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882207172 | DOI:
The Haunted Movie Theater

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Tsai Ming-liang defies easy categorization as a filmmaker. In the course of his career, he has developed a highly distinctive minimalist narrative approach distinguished by its rigorous use of the long take, often used to frame scenes that are nearly devoid of movement, dialogue, and expression. This chapter engages the notion of a queer politics of time through an analysis of Goodbye, Dragon Inn, a film frequently singled out as not only one of Tsai's most idiosyncratic but also a marker of a turning point in his body of work. With the entirety of its story taking place in a decaying 1930s movie theater, Goodbye, Dragon Inn embodies one of Tsai's most meticulous exercises in the reduction and distillation of cinematic storytelling down to the sparest and most minor units of action.

Keywords: Tsai Ming-liang; minimalism; Goodbye Dragon Inn; cinematic storytelling; martial arts

Chapter.  12362 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Film

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