So Long Scala: Final movies to show on historic cinema’s last two days

A file photo of Scala’s interior. Photo: Weerapon Singnoi / Foto_Momo
A file photo of Scala’s interior. Photo: Weerapon Singnoi / Foto_Momo

Bangkok will lose another historical gem next week. 

Scala cinema owner Apex this afternoon confirmed rumors which circulated earlier this month that the theater would end its five decade run when its current contract expires. Before the curtain falls a final time on July 5, two more movies will be shown.

“3-5 July 2020, Final Touch of Memory,” reads on Apex Scala’s Facebook page. 

The 51-year-old standalone said it would turn on every light at the venue July 3 for fans to visit and record the art deco theater’s visual charm. 

After that, on July 4 and July 5, the venue will screen four movies curated by the Thai Film Archive. 

They include two Italian classics – Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blowup and Cinema Paradiso, considered cinema masterworks celebrated by filmmakers. Thai documentaries The Scala and Phantom of Illumination, which pay homage to standalone movie theaters including Scala, will show as a double-feature. Tickets are THB140 and THB160 and go on sale at the box office on Saturday.

Theater historian Philip Jablon earlier told Coconuts Bangkok that Scala was the best of its type remaining in Southeast Asia.

“[T]he closure of the Scala will mark the end of a family-run movie theater empire that once dominated the movie exhibition market in Thailand. The grand old theater is the country’s last operating movie palace and arguably the finest movie theater left in Southeast Asia. It’s truly the end of an era,” Jablon said.

Scala first opened on Dec. 31, 1969, with American civil war movie The Undefeated showing. The architecturally significant cinema’s Art Deco stylings and interiors were designed by architect Chira Silpkanok. It was named after the Teatro alla Scala, an opera house in Italy’s Milan. 

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