Shadows of the Past: Reviving Old Movie Theaters

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2017 / May

Cathy Teng /photos courtesy of Jimmy Lin /tr. by Phil Newell


In the 1970s, Taiwan had a total of 826 local movie theaters. In those days when entertainment was a lot harder to come by than it is now, entering that inky black space and throwing yourself into the magical world of projected images was a way to temporarily escape the daily grind. Local theaters were storehouses of joy, sorrow, love, and happiness for ordinary small-town folk, and the foundation stones of many of the collective memories of that era. Although the arrival of television drew away a big chunk of the audience, the fascination and charm of old movie theaters has never died, and in recent years some people have been working ceaselessly to promote an old theater renaissance.

 


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