In contemporary Thailand, going to the movies involves a trip to one of the hundreds of shopping malls throughout the country, where movie-goers purchase tickets to a multiplex theatre operated by one of two national theatre chains. But for almost the entirety of the 20th century, Thailand’s movie theatre geography consisted of single screen, stand-alone movie theatres located in nearly every urban centre throughout the country. Photographer and author of the recently published book Thailand’s Movie Theatres: Relics, Ruins and the Romance of Escape will be presenting images from his photographic archive of these important leisure time venues.
This pictorial tour on March 12 will explore Thailand’s grand old movie theatres, past and present, and their unique architectural languages. Highlights will include some exciting developments in the field of movie theatre conservation in Thailand, as well as comparisons with developments in neighbouring Myanmar.
Philip Jablon has been documenting stand-alone movie theatres in Southeast Asia since 2009. He has written extensively about these buildings, their historical role in society and the need to preserve them. His articles and essays on the subject have appeared in The Bangkok Post, Frontier Myanmar, The Nation (Thailand), GQ (Thailand), The Asia Sentinel, as well as other publications. In 2019 his first book, Thailand’s Movie Theatres: Relics, Ruins and the Romance of Escape, was published. Support for his work has been provided by grants from the Jim Thompson Foundation and The Thai Film Archive, and corporate sponsorship from Mingalar Cinemas. When not living and breathing stand-alone movie theatres in Southeast Asia he spends his time in his native Philadelphia, Pennsylvania trying to figure out which old chain stores used to be movie theatres.
This talk is part of a series of virtual masterclasses by film and media practitioners, seeking to enable scholars and professionals in the field to share their experience and grow new partnerships. The series forms part of a strand within the newly established Creative Industries Research and Innovation Network (CIRIN) at Oxford Brookes University, which responds to the need for increased attention to the role of the creative industries in social, political and economic terms.
Each instalment of the series will seek to highlight current work undertaken in the field and suggest opportunities for growth and collaboration, while necessarily acknowledging the impact of the COVID-19 crisis from across multiple perspectives within the sector. Special attention will be reserved for the role played by new media platforms of content production, distribution and consumption in the context of a seemingly endless digital expansion, struggling cinema exhibition and shortening theatrical release windows.
The format of the series will allow for dialogue with the attendees, answering questions and networking.
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