Blogger unveils Ang Lee connection to classic movie theatres in Taiwan

Chin Men Theatre.
PHOTO: Twitter/spectralcodex

TAIPEI  — As Netflix and other streaming platforms become increasingly popular, local moviegoers may opt to stream a movie at home rather than going out, resulting in many movie theatres shutting down in recent years.

Before it is too late, Alexander Synaptic, a Taiwan-based travel blogger, has embarked on a journey to photograph the six most iconic movie theatres in Taiwan.

PHOTO: Twitter/spectralcodex

Inspired by fellow blogger Phil Jablon’s recent claim that there are only two classic theatres still standing in Thailand, Synaptic embarked on his vintage “theatre hunt,” which began at the Nanshan Theatre in Taipei.

PHOTO: Twitter/spectralcodex

Synaptic then worked his way south and introduced Tainan’s Chin Men Theatre which was established in 1950. “[This] is undoubtedly the most famous of the golden age Taiwanese cinemas still in business,” he wrote.

PHOTO: Twitter/spectralcodex

The main attraction of the theater not only includes being legendary Taiwanese director Ang Lee’s frequent haunts in high school but also featuring classic movie posters painted by local artist Yan Zhen-fa.

PHOTO: Twitter/spectralcodex

Next, Synaptic shared some pictures of the Guoxing Theatre in Miaoli City.

Established more than 70 years ago, the theater is currently under renovation, even though many locals are worried about its future plans to reopen.

PHOTO: Twitter/spectralcodex

Another movie theatre which caught Synaptic’s eye was the “White House Cinemas” in Huwei, Yunlin County.

He revealed that though it opened in 1972, the exterior didn’t look very old.

PHOTO: Twitter/spectralcodex

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the theatre is not as lively as it once was. The Nantou Theatre is another one Synaptic photographed on his hunt.

PHOTO: Twitter/spectralcodex

According to Synaptic, the history can be traced back to the 1920s. Once on the verge of closure in 2011, “the son of the owner moved back from Taipei to revitalise the theatre and keep it going”.

PHOTO: Twitter/spectralcodex

Last but not least, Synaptic documented the Wanguo Theatre which is a classic theatre founded in 1977 in Dalin, Chiayi County.

PHOTO: Twitter/spectralcodex

It was renovated by cinephile Jiang Ming-he and to this day, maintains a busy schedule and various screenings.

PHOTO: Twitter/spectralcodex

Synaptic acknowledged that there may be more theatres out there and vowed to continue on his quest to document more of Taiwan’s cinematic history.