This October, the National Museum of Asian Art offers a rare big-screen glimpse into the work of Taiwanese filmmaker Tsai Ming-liang. Not only does the museum have a new restoration of Goodbye Dragon Inn, one of his most celebrated films, but the director will be on hand for audience questions and his semi-improvised celebration on the memory of cinema. For the uninitiated, Tsai’s films are both rigorous and a little challenging, with alienation and minimalism holding court as persistent themes. In 2021, when RogerEbert.com’s Simon Abrams reviewed Tsai’s latest, Days, he wrote, “It is an extraordinary movie; it is not an easy sit.” To many, that might sound like a warning or a provocation, and yet the intimate setting is a rare opportunity to try something different, beyond the immediate thrills of whatever remake or sequel happens to be in theaters. In particular, we recommend making time for What Time Is It There?, if only because it is not available to stream anywhere and the museum will present the film in a 35mm format, which is rare for movie screens in the area. The series runs from Oct. 7 to 23 at the National Museum of Asian Art’s Freer and Sackler Galleries. asia.si.edu. Free.
For more film recommendations, check out our calendar.