In Memory of Thailand’s Standalone Movie Theatres
See the new book by Philip Jablon with a collection of photos and his research on the disappearing independent cinemas.
About 50-70 years ago, standalone movies were all the rage – the place everyone can go and enjoy themselves. However, as times and technology will have it, they’re replaced with multiplexes, which usually has a full range of entertainment available.
Eventually, standalone cinemas become more and more obsolete, and people start to forget this corner of history that has once been so prolific.
These old theaters might be a distant memory to some, but not to Philip Jablon. This Philadelphian researcher/photographer has fallen in love with the unique charms and characters of standalone cinemas. To him, abandoning these relics to be lost to time is like erasing an invaluable part of cultural history.
Since 2008, Philip Jablon has been traveling around Thailand, as well as Myanmar and Laos, to research and take pictures of old standalone movie theaters, very few of which are around anymore.
After 11 years of working on the Southeast Asia Movie Theater Project, Philip Jablon has recently published Thailand’s Movie Theatres: Relics, Ruins and The Romance of Escape. According to Philip himself, this book is a labor of love that he just can’t wait to show everyone.
The 208-page book contains photos of over 200 standalone cinemas around Thailand plus the story behind each one. Less than five of them are still open today, while others are abandoned or turned into parking lots and markets.
Some of the theaters featured in the book are demolished shortly after Philip takes the pictures. In this way, the book is an important piece of evidence that’ll allow future generations a glimpse into history forever lost to them.
But this hardly the end of Philip’s endeavor; he intends to record as much of the history of standalone cinemas all throughout Southeast Asia as possible. After this, Philip hopes to publish another book on Myanmar’s old movie theaters, which we’d imagine holds comparable historical value as the Thai version.
If you’re interested in Philip Jablon’s Thailand's Movie Theatres, the book is available for purchase now at major bookstores. You can also contact him directly on The Southeast Asia Movie Theater Project Facebook Page for a signed copy of the book, now selling for 1,075 THB (shipping fees included)!
For more information on The Southeast Asia Movie Theater Project, see the social media channels down below.