A Pictorial Tour of Thailand’s Movie Theatres. A Talk by Philip Jablon


Bang Khae Rama, Bangkok, Thailand (2015) – it was demolished less than a year after the photo was taken.


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 photographic archive of these important leisure time venues. This pictorial tour 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.


Mr 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. 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.

Date: Thursday 5 March 2020
Time: 7.00 p.m.
Place: The Siam Society, 131 Asoke Montri Rd, Sukhumvit 21

Non-members donation: B200. Siam Society members, members’ spouses and children, and all students showing valid student ID cards are admitted free of charge. For more information, please contact Khun Arunsri or

Office Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 9:00am. – 5:00pm.

The Siam Society is deeply grateful to the James H.W. Thompson Foundation for its generous support of the 2019-2020 Lecture Series.