First, to break the bad news: Siem Reap is not Bangkok. There are no mega-cinemas to be found here, though we have moved up in the world with our very own small big screen cinema in the middle of town. But on the positive side, Siem Reap is not Bangkok: mega-cinemas are crowded, frozen temples of anaemic consumerism, dedicated to sucking out the last of your soul, along with your dollars — or, at least, that’s what we tell ourselves here. Instead, Siem Reap offers a much more intimate and personal cinematic experience (we don’t mean porn).
The Platinum Cineplex on Sivatha Boulevard opened in mid-2015, and expats are still coming down from the high despite early jitters over the fact that locals took it to be just another place to eat dinner, deeply discuss wedding plans and catch up on phone calls to family and friends in Paris. They show a mix of Khmer and Western new releases in 2D and 3D, and tickets only cost $4, which you can book and pay for online, or when you arrive. This is revolutionary stuff for dusty Siem Reap. They show recent releases in air-con comfort you wouldn’t be able to distinguish from any similarly sized cinema in the West.
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 because 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.
The New Leaf Book Cafe hosts regular movie screenings of documentaries and films that tended to be geared towards the development sector or Cambodia. They’re usually an interesting chance to get to meet some of those who work for NGOs in Siem Reap. Check out the New Leaf events calendar for more information.
In 2015, Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor revived their Cinema Paradiso evenings, gorgeous soirees of film, glamour, cocktails and canapes. The tickets are $25, and you can check for details on their Facebook page.
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 over Breakfast at Tiffany’s, can they?
By Nicky Sullivan
Last updated on 17th February, 2016.