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Phantom of Illumination

Wattanapume Laisuwanchai
2017 | 70min | color | DCP | Korean Subtitles | English subtitles



Once upon a time, cinema was mainstream entertainment in Thailand. 30 years ago, there were 140 standalone movie theaters in Bangkok. As time went by, oldfashioned movie theaters are forgotten. Thonburi Rama is the last second class movie theater that opened until 2013, when it had to close down. After the closure of Thonburirama, Rit, a projectionist who worked there for more than 25 years became a jobless person. He turned into an alcoholic and tried to study Dharma. Rit went back to his hometown where his wife and daughter owned a rubber plantation, but he felt that he didn’t fit in and lost all hope.


Director's Statement

I have spent half a year finding and documenting stories about these types of cinemas in Bangkok, I have interviewed customers, cinema owners or even ticket sales people. I came to know Rit when I was doing the research for this film and found out that Rit was a projectionist at the last stand alone cinema in Bangkok. We chatted about the history of the cinema and about his life which I thought was interesting. I soon found out that the distinction of standalone cinemas didn’t just create an impact on the history, but it also had a personal impact on people who seemed rather unimportant in the cinema as well.



Wattanapume Laisuwanchai
Wattanapume Laisuwanchai is a young Thai filmmaker and Visual Artist. He was born in 1988 and holds the Bachelor degree in Fine Arts from communication design program. Although he has made a few short films, his work is widely shown in international film festivals and museum around the world. Wattanapume is interested in the film medium by means of its communicative and expressive power to explore the idea of memory, time and self-connection to contemporary society.