Past, present and future come together in Goodbye, Dragon Inn, Tsai Ming-liang’s nostalgic homage and farewell to an era. A film with ghosts from the past (the old martial arts film Dragon Gate Inn by King Hu), actors from the present (including Miao Tien, who acted for King Hu and now also for Tsai) and a director from the future (Lee Kang-sheng, a regular Tsai actor and director of The Missing, Tiger Competition IFFR 2004).
On the last evening before the closure of an old cinema in Taipei, a Japanese man visits the theatre. The auditorium is almost empty. The only employees are the operator and the crippled box-office girl. They have worked together for years without ever getting to know each other better. On this last evening, the girl decides to drop into the projection room. But the operator isn't there. However she is determined to make this last encounter happen and goes looking for him.
In the auditorium, in the meantime, King Hu’s Dragon Gate Inn is being screened. The Japanese man, who is in the cinema looking for a chance gay encounter, meets two old men who look suspiciously like the protagonists in the film. With tears in their eyes, they are watching the film. Are they real people, or ghosts from a long-gone film era?