As each final screening let out, more than 20 Lido employees and board members from theater-owner Apex lined up in front of the theatre to thank every attendee until the last one had walked out. All of them gave a wai and said, “Thank you krub/ka.” Many eyes filled with tears. Some of the 50-year-old theater’s fans rushed to hug the staff and cried.
An usher wiped his tears with a sleeve of his iconic yellow suit.
“This place … so many memories,” Nanta Tansacha, owner of parent company Apex, told the Siam Square movie house’s fans. Her voice could barely be heard even with a microphone. “You don’t forget Lido, so how can Lido forget you?”
Musty room. Uncomfortable seats. Low-quality screen. But no one minded for the final curtain call at Lido theater.
It was unusual to see hundreds of people filling its small space Thursday night – a moment of unity for the 50-year-old theater’s fans – to bid farewell on its final day of operation.
Although all shows were completely sold out, ardent film lovers showed up with cameras, some vintage, to capture the last moments of Lido, which would have rounded out its 50th year of operation later this month.
Some carried handwritten postcards and drawings to carefully attach to a whiteboard. A woman with a rose bouquet handed over flowers to each employee. A few carried paper Lido tickets and politely sought signatures from the yellow-jacketed uncles who served as its distinctive ushers.
The very last screenings of the multiplex were gay love story “God’s Own Country” (Lido 1), Buster Keaton silent comedy “Sherlock Jr.” (Lido 2) and Japanese romantic fantasy “Tonight, At Romance Theatre.” Each saw a few dozen extra seats set up in the aisles to accommodate extra viewers.
“Lido may be gone, but don’t forget that we still have Scala,” Nanta told the crowd.
Lido’s sibling Scala, which opened in 1969, one year after Lido, is expected to operate another two years until its contract expires in 2020, according to Chulalongkorn University.