The first film was screened in Scala in 1969. But in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, Thailand’s last standalone movie theater, housed in Bangkok’s Siam Square shopping area, has been forced to close due to lack of filmgoers. In Scala, we witness the demolition of the interior, and with it the dismantling of a community, because for many employees, this was home: they slept, cooked and ate in the dark recesses of the cinema.
As Ananta Thitanat documents the demolition, she interviews the employees, some of whom have worked and lived there all their lives. Some recognize the filmmaker as Sakchai’s daughter; her father also worked here. Against a background of swirling dust and disassembled theater seats, a picture unfolds of the filmmaker’s youth, the political upheaval in Thailand and the working conditions of the employees. More than just a fond farewell to a once-famous film house, this is a mournful ode to a constant factor in life: the certainty that everything is always changing.