Experiencing Thai Cinema

I always enjoy going to the cinema back home but due to the outrageous prices I tend to only go and see movies that I am keen to see. A trip to the cinema in the UK ranges from £8-14 (per ticket) depending on where you live. Here in Thailand, tickets are priced at £3 per ticket.

Thai Royal Athem

All movies screened in Thai cinemas are preceded by the Thai royal anthem. Before the movie begins there will be a brief video clip to pay respect to the Royal family. Everyone is expected to stand respectively for its duration.

All of Hollywood’s big releases reach Bangkok’s cinemas a week behind the UK market. The foreign films are altered by Thailand’s film censors before distribution: nude scenes and gun fights are sometimes edited out.

Hollywood and Thai Movies

Thai movies generally have a lower “production value” than their Hollywood counterparts (in other words, they’re made as cheaply as possible). Thai movies generally fall into one of three genres: ghost stories, historical dramas or comedies. The comedies employ a lot of slapstick and so can often be enjoyed without understanding any Thai.

Almost every Hollywood Movie that is released in major cities in Thailand is available in English with Thai subtitles. Movies shown in English are previewed with Thai subtitles rather than being dubbed. This means that no one chats during the duration of the film as they have to concentrate on the subtitles.

The trend has been for many of the bigger budget films to be released with English subtitles, so you can try seeing a Thai movie if you’re interested. Most major Hollywood films make it to Thailand within a short time of their release. In Bangkok, most American films are shown with their English soundtrack and Thai subtitles, although in the countryside it’s more common for them to be dubbed in Thai. The theater displays will usually indicate if a movie is being shown with the origianl soundtrack or in Thai.

Any time I go to the cinema I take a shawl as the air conditioning is blasted out throughout the entire film. The obsession with air conditioning is one of those peculiarities of living in South East Asia.

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