Goodbye Blue Jam

Yesterday, Tsai Ming-liang’s short The Skywalk is Gone and feature Goodbye Dragon Inn at the London Film Festival. I’ve seen his The Hole before, and wasn’t impressed, but these, yesterday, were something special.

There are plenty of reviews of them around, pointing out the influences of Tati, Antonioni and the rest. But to me, the spirit of both films was more in the vein of Chris Morris: the long, weird scene with the smoking man at the row of urinals, the sinuous, nut-crunching girl, and much else in the feature, and the dénouement (if you could call it that) of the short could easily have been lifted straight from (a rather more formalist) Jam. Although seeing this bleak, sylised humour in an Asian film, I’m left wondering how much Morris himself has been influenced by the dark Japanese ‘comedies’ of the early Eighties, with their complex setups of social disconnection which lead nowhere, their pratfalls of nothingness tripping clumsily over itself…

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