Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Ngamwongwan Theater - Bangkok, Thailand

Here is a 1978 classic in pristine condition; a glistening ruby encased in a residential cul-de-sac. The neighborhood - also called Ngamwongwan - is otherwise featureless. A concrete slab resting over a swamp.

Street-side marquee of the Ngamwongwan Theater.

A river of traffic courses through Bangkok, past the entrance to the Ngamwongwan Theater

The pristine condition of the Ngamwongwan Theater is testament, I imagine, to the pride of its owners. Each and every fixture, from poster cases, to lobby chandeliers and the marquee in front, still has that factory-fresh look to it. The street-side sign continues to cast its neon illumination across the evening road. A time capsule in every dimension save for programming.

Inside the cul-de-sac, the Ngamwongwan dominates

Must be nice to have a classic old movie theater right outside your door.

As keepers of history, holders of an artifact both adored and romanticized, the owners are a suspicious pair. Only a few years ago their revenue was slashed by the coming of an EGV multiplex to a nearby shopping mall. As a result, they no longer control the movie exhibition market in the Ngamwongwan neighborhood. This has soured them to humanity, apparently. Misanthropes, they've become. Despite my pleas, my explanations, my promises of glorification on the pages of the internet, they turned me away. Cold and callous, without remorse. Hence I only have shots of the exterior.

By no means should an owner with an Ebeneezer Scrooge-like disposition stop you from seeing the Ngamwongwan Theater in person. Tickets are only 50 baht, and everything is top quality. The auditorium has been reduced in size to account for the smaller crowds and save on air-conditioning costs, but it's still a treat watch a movie there. Daily double-features are.........

Wait a minute! I'm just checking the listings for Bangkok's double-feature theaters. There's nothing listed for the Ngamwongwan. Could it be out of business?


  1. Shame they wouldn't let you take pix inside.

    The round shape makes me think this must have been the theater featured in two movies released in 2007 around the same time, Ponglang Amazing Theater, a comedy about haunted movie house, and The Screen at Kamchanod, about a haunted reel of film shown to ghosts in a forest preserve -- supposedly fact based.

  2. Can you give more detail about the exact location? Is it on Ngamwongwan Road, or somewhere else in the vicinity? I used to live in the general area but have never heard of this place.

  3. I believe it was on Ngamwongwan Road, not far from The Mall.

    It would be convenient if I recorded the addresses, huh?

    It was used in a few movies. They've got the posters to prove it. It was recently featured in a Pepsi commercial, as well, if my memory is right.

  4. Cool i like this photos

  5. Yes,sad but true...

    I'd been recently confirmed that this theater had just colsed its door only a few weeks ago.Just too late to take any further pics inside.How sad it is.

  6. Now I feel guilty for calling the owners "soured to humanity" and "misanthropes." Imagine a photographer, a complete unknown, trying to snap pictures of your relative on their deathbed. Untimely, to say the least.

    Sad though, because it really was a beautiful theater, if not a bit on the 70's tacky side. It would have been nice to show the details. A post-mortem photo series will have to suffice.

    RIP The Ngamwongwan Theater

  7. I wonder if its still standing. Normally there should be someone with a key guarding the place? Maybe you should have just bought a ticket and photographed on the sly...

  8. The place has since been converted into a badminton court. Been there several times. The lobby is still decorated with the posters of the last films it screened before closing down.