Rounding out the trio of active stand-alone movie theaters in Lashio is one that differs markedly from the majority of Myanmar's mid-century cinema stock. Go figure! It's not actually a mid-century movie theater at all, nor was it designed in either of the hallmark Art Deco or International Style which, in Myanmar, are so indicative of the form.
The Thein Htaik Cinema was erected in the 21st century, probably the first single screen stand-alone to arise in the country since the 2000's began. True to the era, it bears none of the aesthetic charms that most older Myanmar theaters come standard with, and all the drawbacks of contemporary stock architecture, with one particularly biting shortcoming - Lashio's unfortunately easy access to cheap Chinese building materials.
The Thein Htaik Cinema looks like it was ripped straight off of a Chinese mass construction site, the prevailing aesthetic logic of which is whatever the building, slap some glazed tile, vinyl panels and/or imitation varnished stone onto the facade and call it a castle. It's the latter material that mars the exterior of The Thein Htaik, a decor that announces the accumulation of wealth sans any accompanying notions of good taste, not unlike much of its freshly constructed ilk throughout China. Add some vertical strips of tinted glass, and voila - we've managed to achieve an opaque gangland sort of look.
While on the subject, multiple sources claimed The Thein Htaik Cinema, as well as a nearby hotel, belong to a certain, shall we say, "Golden Triangle" business man. As part of said business man's amnesty deal with the Burmese military government back in the 1980's, he was given concessions to operate some of the local movie theaters. The 2003 grand opening of The Thain Htaik Cinema was an outcome of that.
A stand-alone theater for its times - The Thein Htaik Cinema
At night, The Thein Htaik punctuates the urban landscape of downtown Lashio like few other buildings do - a typical attribute of stand-alone movie theaters, whatever their aesthetic shortcomings.