Islands of Forgotten Cinemas
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An old Taipei cinema is set to close. Its final denizens, a small and lonely group of strangers, settle into disparate corners and mental spaces, as King Hu’s Dragon Inn (1967) plays on screen for the last time. The disabled cashier hobbles down long subterranean corridors and tackles the steps up to the projection box to leave her sad gift for the elusive projectionist. Anonymous sex in the cinema or the men’s room proves just as elusive for a scrawny young Japanese visitor. Two old men watch and weep as the ghosts of their heyday cavort on the screen. We pass many long moments contemplating the emptiness of the room – until the empty cinema seems to be contemplating us. The film won FIPRESCI Prize in Venice and was screened at TIFF, New York and other festivals.
He won the Golden Lion in Venice with Vive l’amour (1994), the Silver Bear for The River (1997) at Berlinale, FIPRESCI Prize for The Hole at the 1998 Cannes, Alfred Bauer Prize and Silver Bear for The Wayward Cloud (2005) at Berlinale and the Grand Jury Prize at Venice for Stray Dogs (2013). His films are recognizable by their long shots, sparse dialogue and the presence of running water.