Hear a reel’s rolling? See a flash of light to that silver screen?
Today I take you back in time to meet one of my hidden drawer of memories when I was still a little child. It’s the time beyond this digital age. The time when EDGE or 3G didn’t exist. The time when color TV was just released to market and we were crazy about it like Blackberry. It’s the classical time of Nang Klang Plaeng or open-air cinema.
In the old days, when the festive seasons like songkran or other community ceremonies, rolled around in suburb area where I was born and raised, one activity often held is the open-air cinema. The show is usually free for public as it was a treat by a host of each ceremony. It was always held at night when the wether is perfect for being out under the sky.
I think our Nang Klang Plaeng can be compared to your drive-through movie. They are the show that gathers lots of people together outdoor in the same place just to watch the same movie, except that Nang Klang Plaeng normally took place in a rice field after harvest or somebody’s unused land. Plus, while you were having popcorn in your hands, we could have some grilled meat balls or rolled squid.
I still remember that I went to this kind of show a couple of times with my family. The picture is clear in my head. Taking with us was blankets, sheets, and small pillows, we took the best area we could find. My brother was on my left and my mum and dad were in the back. The blanket was the most effective weapon to fight back my fear of ghost in the movie by means of covering myself with it.
As EGV, IMAX or whatever brands fulfilled our desire for entertainment, it’s hard to find the open-air cinema, except in the rural Thailand. I’m now far and far from it, no direct experience with it anymore as I move to BKK. But everytime I look back to those days, I can hear the rolling voice of the reel and the smell of meat balls and the harsh feeling of grass beneath me.