Fans of movies, architecture or just Thai history are gathering this weekend to bid adieu to the grand dame of Bangkok cinema, The Scala.
Designed in a now-classic art deco style by then up-and-coming architect Jira Silpakanok, Scala opened on New Year’s Eve 1969, giving moviegoers the feeling they’d stepped into a grand palace. From its showing – “The Undefeated”, a Hollywood Civil War-era western – through the 90s it sat at the nexus of Bangkok’s social scene.
But as big chains took over the industry with cookie-cutter multiplexes, Scala struggled, relegated to the role of a cinema arthouse. Fittingly, it ends its 50-year run tonight with a film festival entitled “La Scala”, a play on the Thai word “la” – or farewell.
Cinephiles with and without tickets showed up at Scala this weekend night as it turned on all its lights for a final bow. Twitter, Facebook and the media filled with images of the ornate fixtures and classic profile of the old movie house. We’ve assembled some of the best images below.
Chulalongkorn University, which owns the land under the arthouse, has said there no plans to demolish the landmark theater. The school’s Property Management Office is actively seeking a renter.
However, that process could take years, the office said. Unfounded ruors online and even in some media said that Chulalongkorn wouldn’t wait and would pave over Scala to make room for another shopping mall.