A Movie Theater from Another Era
In a world of hi-tech movies and state-of-the-art technology, we often forget how special our local cinemas were. Movie theaters had a soul and a personality, each of them was different and going to the movie was a little event, not yet casual entertainment. Today almost all theaters are located inside gigantic shopping malls, but only a few independent cinemas are still alive...
Finding Daokhanong Multiplex is a bit of a challenge, such gems are closing one after the other, not able to cope with competition or not able to upgrade fast enough to satisfy ever demanding customers. The land price makes it then an easy target for developers. Only a couple of theaters in Bangkok are lucky enough to be preserved as icons of the past: La Scala and the Lido in Siam Square, but the large majority of independant venues turn to porn as a last resource or simply close down. Daokhanong Multiplex is still a true theater playing recent movies for only 40 baht, but how long can this last?
DaoKhanong Multiplex is hard to find, located in a small soi on a large avenue, cars driving past too fast to even notice. The area is a real blast from the past, surrounded by seventies art deco buildings which all are in the same rundown state. The atmosphere is more of a small village and the entire place could easily become a time travel attraction. Just opposite of the cinema is an old fashioned food court that really adds to the retro awkwardness of the street... Vendors even sell sausages and local sweets on push carts around the theater.
The lobby of Daokhanong theater is just as you would expect it to be in a theater on the decline... the original ticket booth is abandoned and tickets are now sold at a good old metal table... The theater has only two rooms and tickets only cost 40 baht, a bargain!
It's not that hard to imagine how the original glory days of this theater were, a good deal of effort was made on the architecture and it was a lot more than just a concrete building. DaoKhanong had style and grandeur in its time but competing with the shopping mall giants is a lost battle. The building still stands strong but the interior is seriously derelict, the staff have been hanging on since the golden age and appear resigned to their fate. The lady selling sweets and potato chips spends a lot of her time sitting under her counter... maybe it's the most comfortable place to wait for the few customers, but it adds a weird touch to the overall out-of-this-age impression.
Movies played here are not old, they are just out of main screens so if you missed one blockbuster by a couple of days, you now know where to go! I arrived there too late to see a movie but will add the details of the theater room shortly. According to some friends, the sound system is good and seats are old but comfortable.
Nobody knows what the fate of this classic building will be. It is probably located too far from Bangkok city center to get lucky as the now famous 'La Scala', safe from demolition. So go and see a movie at DaoKhanong while you still can, this is one of the last standing independant cinemas in Bangkok.