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News & Updates

07.11.19 LFS Pawagam Coliseum Cinema, since 1920

During the trip to Malaysia, I also had a chance to visit Pawagam Colisum Cinema, which is a heritage cinema in KL. Built in 1920 and still running until today as a cinema, largely screening Indian films, the site offers a case study on the survival of local cinema despites trends of gentrification and demolition of standalone theatres in Southeast Asia. I don't know much about the site before the trip and have read around what I found online that the building also has a hotel and the famed Coliseum Café which was 'a favourite haunt of William Somerset Maugham during his stay in British Malaya'. It was built by the Chua family led by Chua Cheng Bok. It would be interesting it know more about the development of the site over the years and different kinds of programming of the films, until it found the niche of audiences of Bollywood movies. 

Sadly, two years after my trip, I read that the café was closed in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 'after 100 years in business'. The cinema is presumably still running, which is unlike the heritage site of Scala cinema in Bangkok. 

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