With Siem Reap’s first International Film Festival underway this weekend, it’s high time we looked at what other options film fans have when the festival has passed. First, to break the bad news: Siem Reap is not Bangkok. There are no mega-cinemas to be found here. But on the positive side, Siem Reap is not Bangkok: mega-cinemas are full of horrible people who munch, and giggle and stand on your toes, and the popcorn tastes like old flip-flops. Instead, Siem Reap offers a much more intimate cinematic experience (and, no, we don’t mean porn so get that out of your mind right now).
The biggest/only cinema we actually have in Siem Reap — with seating for a massive crowd of 24 people — belongs to the Siem Reap Film Society, located in Charming City to the north of town. Charming City is a complex of shophouses whose architect clearly wasn’t briefed on the name, but it does provide a home to ABOUTAsia Travel, a high-end tour operator. And their management decided that what Siem Reap needs is a cinema so they created the Film Society, to which we said “Yay!”
The screening room is above the ABOUTAsia office, accessed through the double glass doors to the right. There’s no sign for the Film Society telling you that you’re there, so don’t worry if you can’t see one. The cinema is set up to project high-quality Blu-Ray discs, and the sound system is state of the art. Super comfy papasan chairs and sofas (actually called mamasans, didn’t know that) are spread about, while popcorn and a soft drink come free with the $5 ticket.
Screenings are on Tuesday nights (19:00), and Sundays, with a kids’ matinee at 15:00 and grown ups’ films (no, remember) also at 19:00. Their Facebook page posts details of the schedules, and check out the photo albums for poster images of what’s being shown each month. They recently started hosting monthly marathons, with consecutive screenings of film serials, so grab a take-away pizza, kick back and enjoy.
But that is not all. On Mondays, Soria Moria on Wat Bo road hosts their weekly movie night on their rooftop bar. They have two movies, one at 18:00 and another at 20:00, free popcorn, and a great view though you can’t see it ‘cos it’ll be dark. For details of which films will be showing, contact the hotel. They often show movies on other nights of the week too.
Rosy Guesthouse is about to inaugurate a new movie night, which they’ll kick off with a one-off Oscars special on Sunday March 4 and a massive movie session showing a selection of this year’s winners starting at 12:00 and carrying on until 21:00, and after if necessary. After that, weekly Wednesday night screenings will start at 19:00. They’ll be downstairs so you can tuck into one of their wonderful pies while enjoying the film.
For the weekends, Riverview Café has introduced matinee screenings every Saturday and Sunday at 17:00, played on their home movie theatre system. In the short period that they’ve been running, they’ve already shown real classics like John Wayne’s True Grit and the early Pink Panther films, so definitely one to keep an eye on too.
So you see, we might not be all bright and glitzy like Bangkok, but Bangkok’s monster movie theatres can’t serve you up a rooftop cocktail while you’re watching Vertigo, or a pile of maple drenched crepes while over Breakfast at Tiffany’s, can they?
By Nicky Sullivan
Last updated on 2nd October, 2014.