Making Worlds

Goodbye, Dragon Inn (Tsai Ming-liang, 2003)

In the introduction to Queer Cinema in the World, Rosalind Galt and Karl Schoonover pose a deceptively simple question: “Why do queers still go to the movies?” Some, like the protagonist of Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-liang’s Goodbye, Dragon Inn (2003), haunt the old cinemas of their youth out of a curious combination of nostalgia and cruising. But as Galt and Schoonover, quoting film scholar Ramon Labato, acknowledge, “formal theatrical exhibition is no longer the epicenter of cinema culture” (16-17). (Tsai’s characters too seem to recognize that the cinema has become a ghostly shell of its former self.) Queers today increasingly view films online or in less conventional cinematic spaces. It is tempting to add “like everyone else,” only I suspect, if anything, this is even more true for queers given how often we find ourselves surrounded in public life and art by a conspicuous absence—our own.

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