Friday, July 18, 2014

Memoirs of a Movie Theater Maestro

Mr. Chalong Praditsuwan stood out in my mind as one of the more thoughtful characters I had encountered while researching Thailand's stand-alone movie theaters. Having once been at the helm of entertainment in his home town of Taphan Hin, Phichit, Chalong knew all the ins and outs of the movie industry in Thailand, past and present, including the societal shifts that had rendered his business lifeless.

He was also in possession of one of the most affable personalities out there, a trait, I surmised, that would lend itself exactingly to the making of a short documentary about Thailand's movie-going past.

A return visit to his movie theater-turned-private home after more than four years proved me correct. Here's the outcome of that meeting.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

"The Architecture of Dreams" Part 2

"I've always loved movie theater architecture. Well, maybe not always, but at least since the early 80's. Since I bought "Architectures de Cinemas," by Francis Lacloche (Editions du Moniteur, 1981). In those days I was living in Paris, working in some architectural office, I saw many old cinemas closing down one after the other. I got myself some old 1960's movie programs and spent many weekends looking for these lost, closed-down-but-maybe-still-there cinemas anywhere I went. I was feeling like some kind of urban archaeologist, trying to find a forgotten Egyptian temple in a deserted suburban street.
Then came 1990, and for some reason I had the opportunity to quit my job, my flat and everything, and spend a long time travelling around the world. I came back 8 months later with a suitcase foll of sketch books, souvenirs and slides. Cinema slides, of course.
There are kinds of cinemas, but you can always recognize a movie theater anywhere in the world, even without any movie posters of the facade. Why? Because they all have something special. Something about adventures, love, fantasy. Something about dreams. It's the architecture of dreams."
Philippe Doro

The Cinemas of Thailand

The Saeng Tawan Theater, Chiang Mai, Thailand

The Tippanetr Rama, Chiang Mai, Thailand

The Hong Rama, Sukhothai, Thailand

The Malai Rama - Lopburi, Thailand

Marquee of the Chalerm Rath Theater - Khon Kaen, Thailand

The Sala Chalerm Krung - Bangkok, Thailand

The Paradise Theater - Bangkok, Thailand

The Capitol Theater - Bangkok, Thailand

Hat Yai Plaza - Hat Yai, Songkla Province, Thailand