Kampot: The town of Kampot was a lively place during the Sangkum period of the late 1950’s-1970. The town had four cinemas, which were popular places for the people of the ‘golden age’.
The first theater was named “Royal” Cinema. After 7 January 1979, it was renamed Victory Cinema Of the Provincial Department of Culture and Fine Arts.
The second theater was named “The Gong”, after 7 January it was renamed the “7 Makara/January” theater.
The Peace Theater has not changed its name. All three cinemas are located in Sangkat Kampong Kandal, Kampot City.
The fourth theater was named “Sen Monorom”, renamed the “2 December” Cinema in Kampong Bay Village. South of Kampong Bay, Kampot town.
The buildings all used to be under the control of the provincial department of culture and art, but are now in private hands, with some still keeping the original frontage after the change of use (including hotels and cafes).
Research sources said that all four theaters were very popular from 1967 until 1973, with all four theaters showing different kinds of movies so as not to compete with each other.
“The Royal” screened Indian films with Khmer dubbing, and the audience were mostly Cham or Khmer Muslims.
The “Gong”, featured the Hong Kong Chinese martial arts movies.
The “Peace Theater”, showed older and contemporary Khmer films, whereas “Sen Monorom”, screened foreign films from America and France.
Sources say that all theaters screened movies three times a day, from 9 to 11 in the morning, 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm and at night from 7 to 9 p.m.
According to sources, most of the audience were farmers.
Back then television was extremely rare, and only one in every 15 to 20 families had a radio, so going to watch a movie would have been an important leisure activity in Kampot.
With the advancement of technology, it is easier than ever to watch anything at anytime, which has caused the cinema industry to no longer be commercially viable. But there are still festivals occasionally showing films at the Royal, and some pagodas still have movie screenings for residents.