Scala (2022) & Riverside Archive
First the chandelier is dismantled in the foyer, each string of lamps lowered to the floor one by one. The other retro light fittings come later, after the curtain that lines the walls of the auditorium has been pulled down and before the seats are unscrewed and carried out. As the director narrates in impassive voiceover, the Scala has recently ceased operations, the last of the three great cinemas built in Bangkok in the 1960s to close its doors to the public. Her father used to work at the already shuttered Siam, and she spent much of her childhood there, sleeping behind the projection room, her sheets of the same fabric as the curtains. Her recollections flow into those of who appear on camera, those whose lives are just as linked to such spaces as hers and who now strip it bare. As the space empties out ever further, it is perversely filled by something else: an almost unbearable sense of melancholy that infects director, staff and audience alike, at a life, at a culture, at a community that will soon disperse, even if its importance remains undimmed, here and elsewhere too. In the dark windows behind the palms, the only moving images are reflections of the glowing billboards.
Following SCALA (2022) we will be screening a selection of short films from the Riverside film archive covering various significant events that have happened at The Riverside over the last 40+ years.
Programme Type: Film
Running Time: 90 minutes