Guest Blog 2: First Movie Theatre in Phnom Penh!


Digression – Cinema in Cambodia

by: Ekay Park

Growing up in Cambodia I learned to accept some of the limitations that I had to face.

1. No malls
2. No amusement parks
3. No movie theaters/Cinemas

So was I shocked when I heard that there was an actual cinema opening in Cambodia? Yes. Was I skeptical? Hells yeah. Years of growing up in Cambodia, accepting the fact that Cambodia will always be a shithole/boring for teenagers and pre teens to grow up in, has made the limitations easier to accept. I remember the joy I felt when I would go to neighboring countries like Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore just to indulge in the urban atmosphere that was teenager friendly and filled with shopping malls, fast food restaurants and MOVIE THEATERS. And when I heard that there was a movie theater in Cambodia, I went to Citymall and waited in line for 45 minutes to buy the movie tickets, I know it was a bit of a wait but patience is a virtue- and I was definitely not going to miss out on this little glimmer hope I had of urban entertainment.

To digress a little more from my digression, I have to point out that there are a couple of movie theaters in Cambodia and most, no all of them are local ones. I went to one when I was younger to watch a ghost movie as they had english subtitles and I’m sure that I was completely traumatized by that experience. There were rats running around, gum stuck to the chairs and I am so sure that the person that was sitting in front of me actually pissed his pants when the ghost appear full on on the big screen. So, no that doesn’t count as a cinema.

This one was actually LEGIT. Though the screen was rather small it was a cinema, with proper chairs and to top that, it was 3D. I went with my sister and a friend (who I think might actually be a movie addict) with low expectations and we were shocked by how the cinema actually exceeded our expectations and beyond.

The movie we saw was Transformers 3D, which was great. The 3D glasses were actually better than the ones they use in Korea which was a bit strange, in the case that we break them we would have to pay 30$ to replace them. The movie effects were great and the 3D-ness of the cinema was great too.

Here are some rather hilarious flaws to the cinema:

-The concept of cinemas are relatively new to the locals so there was an actual MC that stood in front of the cinema explaining rules and making jokes. He was more of a standup comedian.

-The movie took 30 minutes to start as everyone had to be seated. The employers at the cinema INSISTED that they help us find our seats even when we knew how the seating arrangements works. He was actually confused as he couldn’t find “J” and we ended up leaving him to go sit.

-When the movie started people were still talking, despite the old caucasian man rudely screaming “shhhs” And when the movie actually started, people applauded. Actually they applauded throughout the whole movie, when it started, when Angkor Wat showed up and when the movie ended.

I guess I understand the Angkor Wat part, we should be proud of the five second scene of Angkor Wat.


And.. here are my 2cents:

First movie theater in Cambodia.. ever. playing transformers 3D. No trailers, instead, an MC entertaining the people. Movie supposed to start at 5:25 but it was 6:00 and people still coming in.. no manners! Loud.. 3D glasses are those expensive ones. They tell us if we break it, it’s $30. Obnoxious old white man next to me grunting and yelling “Start the f-ing movie u dumbass” .. I think “STFU asshole” .. movie about to start, everyone claps.. (embarrased for them, I want to die).. Movie starts in 3D.. everyone keeps shouting “ooooooo” (embarrased for them, I want to die) people still talking.. Angkor Wat comes on screen, everyone claps and cheers (embarrased for them, I want to die)…. I’ve never been so embarrassed at a movie theater before.

Thank you Ekay for writing this blog post! Read more of her posts:

First Guest Blog: EK’s Weekend Trip to Bangkok – Not so Hangover2 (Day 1)

First Guest Blog: EK’s Weekend Trip to Bangkok – Please, no Hangover3! (Day 2)


4 thoughts on “Guest Blog 2: First Movie Theatre in Phnom Penh!

  1. HAHAHA This blog is hilarious! I would have laughed my ass off seeing people acting like that in theater (would try to blend in and clap like them… need to be embarrassed). Sounds like an experience and a lot of fun to me. And… I’m not too surprised the dude was pissing his pants in the theater because I never seen a western horror movie that is scarier than Cambodian/Asian ones. They are low budget but absolutely terrifying.

    • Haha! It was definitely one of the ‘you had to be there’ kind of moments. When I was there, I thought it was hilarious and embarrassing at the same time but now that I think back to it, it was an awesome experience. Almost – too cute!

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