Scala honoured as historical site

World Day for Audiovisual Heritage 2019 Photos courtesy of Thai Film Archive

The Thai Film Archive celebrated World Day for Audiovisual Heritage 2019 with the screening of They Shall Not Grow Old and the unveiling of an honorary plaque at the Scala Theatre that marks it as a historical site in Thai film history.

The Film Archive joins other preservation agencies around the world to celebrate the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage 2019 under the theme "Engage The Past Through Sound And Images". The event on Sunday began with the screening of Peter Jackson's acclaimed They Shall Not Grow Old, a documentary film re-edited from archival World War I footage and colourised by state-of-the-art technology. The film was a huge hit in Europe and the US, and also sparked a debate among preservation experts on the definition of "restoration" vs "creation". While archivists work to preserve and restore the original condition of audiovisual heritage, how much liberty do artists have in manipulating those materials?

The topic was discussed in the post-screening session by art curator Grithiya Gaweewong, historian Pawan Ruangsilp and Film Archive director Chalida Uabumrungjit.

Another important activity on Sunday was the unveiling of the honorary plaque in the lobby of Scala Theatre to mark it as a historical site in Thai film history. Scala's Puangthong Siriwan was joined by Kamonwan Petchote, a representative from Unesco, in the inauguration of the plaque that celebrates the historical importance of this last stand-alone cinema in Bangkok. The plaque can be viewed now in the second-floor foyer of the theatre.

The plaque reads, "The Scala Theatre was founded by Pisit Tansacha and designed by Jira Silpakanok. With an elegant Art Deco style of architecture, the theatre raised its curtains on December 31, 1969, with the screening of The Undefeated. The Scala Theatre is the last commercial stand-alone cinema in Bangkok still in operation. This site, therefore, holds a historical importance in the Thai film history. This plaque was attached here on the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage, October 27, 2019."