In the 1950s and 1960s, movie theaters across Thailand were important architectural statements and centers of social and cultural life. At a time when few houses had electricity, the local movie theater was where people came together, irrespective of class or occupation. In today's era of shopping-mall multiplexes and movies streamed on personal devices, the popularity of the standalone cinema has become a thing of legend; few remember the once-familiar scenes of overflowing crowds spilling out onto the streets or frantic ticket buyers thrusting fists full of cash through small ticket windows.
In 2008, Philip Jablon (who now resides in Philadelphia, PA), then studying for a Master's degree in Thailand, began recording the demise of the country's standalone cinemas. In bringing together his poignant photographs and the ephemera of a vanished culture, such as highly collectible hand-painted Thai movie posters, this book records an irreplaceable slice of social, cultural and movie history. It is introduced by Kong Rithdee, writer, documentary film-maker, and long-time movie critic for the Bangkok Post newspaper.