This is the first of a series of posts regarding my recent vacation in Thailand, others of which will feature a trip to The Beach beach, fancy Thai movie theaters (experience 4DX! and a theater that cost $75 USD per ticket), bootleg movies, and a visit to the shrine of Thailand’s most beloved actor. So let’s begin with the post that will most excite foreign film lovers like myself…
Situated amongst the store-lined alleyways of the fashion district of Bangkok’s Siam Square lies the country’s best source for movie posters, both Thai and otherwise. Proprietor P’ti Santi operates his business out of a narrow space no bigger than a closet, but his supply is both abundant and well-known largely thanks to a CNN GO article in which he was named one of the 50 Reasons Why Bangkok is #1. He was surprised when I requested to see posters of actual Thai movies, specifically those featuring superstar Mitr Chaibancha, as most of his business comes from the sale of Thai versions of American films. His inventory was simply incredible and I scored posters for both Insee Daeng [Red Eagle] and Insee Thong [Gold Eagle]. He explained to us that the majority of Thai movie poster collectors had their possessions destroyed by the 2004 tsunami and then, probably due to my obvious enthusiasm, invited us to his home to view his personal collection as well as the rest of his sales inventory. I, of course, jumped at the chance.
So after a week spent on the islands of southwest Thailand we returned to Bangkok and headed to P’ti’s home in the Bang Kapi district of the megalopolis. His apartment was located on the 26th floor of a 27 story building; classic Thai music streamed in through the open balcony doors, which was welcome as this was the only domestic music we heard during our two-week trip (the entire country apparently caters to tourists who enjoy Neil Young and bad European techno). We spent three hours going through his shelves and barely put a dent in them; he had piles of Shaw Brothers posters, Thai versions of Japanese half-sheets from the 60s/70s, and an impressive collection of classic American three-sheets. His personal not-for-sale collection was impressive as it featured many vintage Thai posters that he claimed to be one-of-a-kind as well as some original poster art including the Lone Wolf and Cub and The Howling posters featured below alongside their printed versions. The posters that came home with me are also pictured below, none of which cost me more than $30 USD, some were as cheap as $5. The whole experience was definitely one of the highlights of the trip.
More photos of P’ti’s apartment:
My poster purchases, an assortment of Thai, Japanese, Chinese, and The Jazz Singer:
Author: Eric Bresler
Eric is the Founder/Site Editor of Cinedelphia.com whose additional activities are numerous: Director/Curator of the Philadelphia Mausoleum of Contemporary Art (PhilaMOCA), founder of Tokyo No Records, the brain behind Video Pirates, and active local film programmer including the Unknown Japan screening series. He’s served as a TLA Video Manager, Philadelphia Film Society Managing Director, and Adjunct Professor in Cinema Studies at Drexel University. He is shy and modest. Email Eric.