Monday, August 25, 2014

Pecha Kucha Presentation in Bangkok

Tomorrow, for a mere 6 minutes and 40 seconds, I will be preaching the gospel of preservation for Southeast Asia's stand-alone movie theaters. Pecha Kucha is the event. Chulalongkorn University is the backdrop.

If you are in Bangkok, come and hear my sermon. 

In the weeks to follow, there will be fresh new images and stories from the forgotten corners of Southeast Asian popular culture. And I promise to dig deeper than ever before. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Thai Film Archive activates Scala and Lido

This past week,Thailand's two most iconic film venues - the Scala and Lido theaters - showcased a cultural event that only an iconic film venue can adequately showcase. 

The Scala hosting Alfred Hitchcock's "The Lodger"

From August 7th to the 13th, the Thai Film Archive hosted Thailand's first ever silent film festival. In collaboration with the British Council of Thailand, the Thai Film Archive, led by chief archivist Dome Sukwong, curated a program that consisted 7 films from Asia and Europe. All films were accompanied by live musical performances, much the way silent films were presented in the early 20th century. 

The grand finale of the festival was a screening of Alfred Hitchcock's 1927 masterpiece, "The Lodger," with a magnificent score provided my pianist Trisdee na Patalung. 

The decision to hold this unique festival at the legendary Apex theaters of Siam Square, coupled with the fact that each showing had near-capacity crowds, ought to be an indication of the intrinsic cultural value of both Scala and Lido. They are much more than just venues for entertainment. They are icons of cultivated sophistication. Indeed, if the motto of the Thai Film Archive is true, that "Cinema Enlightens," then the Scala and Lido are houses of enlightenment. 

Proposals to demolish either Scala or Lido to make room for shopping malls, as has been in the planning stages for more than two years, would be an error of judgement on the part of Bangkok civic leaders. In short it would be a net loss for the Thai capital, if not Thailand as a whole. 

Below are a few shots of the Scala during the final night of the festival.

Filling the Scala