Saturday, July 31, 2004

Bangkok's new arthouse

House is open. Bangkok's new arthouse theater is located on trendy Royal City Avenue, or RCA.

Off the beaten path for foreign visitors and residents of Bangkok, RCA is hub of activity for young, wealthy Thais. But the new theater, if it continues to offer decent films that won't be screened anywhere else in the Kingdom, or even Southeast Asia, will likely be an attraction for film lovers of all ages and nationalities.

It's hard to get there, mainly because of Bangkok's gridlocked traffic. It's made easier by Bangkok's new subway. Getting off at the subway's Phetchburi station, exit at Gate 1. Behind that gate is the intersection for Kampengphet 7 Road, which parallels busy Phetchburi Road. Walk across that intersection and hail a taxi on that side of the road. It's a five-minute ride vs a sweaty 25-minute walk. If you decide to hoof it, RCA is about a 20-minute walk to your left as you exit the station. Once at RCA, the theater is on the right in the UMG RCA cineplex. House is located on the third floor. Admission is 100 baht.

Inside the theater is a coffee shop, some books and magazines to browse and a DVD stall. It's the kind of place you could easily spend an afternoon watching movies, talking about films with friends and getting wired on strong cafe Americanos.

When you've gotten your fill of film, there's plenty of other stuff to at RCA, including an indoor go-kart park. There's also tons of trendy restaurants and bars that late at night become filled with the hip, slick and cool. Or, you can get a motorcycle taxi to take you back to the subway station.

The opening weekend program is the Coen Bros' The Ladykillers and The Barbarian Invasions. Upcoming features include Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Story of the Weeping Camel.

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