Whether you’re a fan of pop culture favourites such as the Star Wars films, indie comedies such as Frances Ha, old P. Ramlee movies, or critically acclaimed foreign films, you can be (90%) sure that these films won’t be showing in the mainstream movie theatre chains. Thankfully, there are spaces in Malaysia where avid film buffs can catch these movies.
Most people only know of AFKL as a non-profit organisation that promotes French culture but did you know they also host monthly film screenings? The films range from coming-of-age stories to whimsical comedies to romantic dramas depending on the theme of the month. Since popcorn and drinks won’t be provided, attendees usually order from menus created by the neighbouring Chez Leoniel café for the screenings. Attendees are advised to respondez, s’il vous plait AFKL by writing to them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Francophiles will want to check the cultural centre’s Facebook page for updates on their film screenings.
15 Lorong Gurney, Off Jalan Semarak, 54100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. +603 2694 7880. Free admission.
This rooftop bar is known as the place to be if you want to groove to non-commercial house music. Besides their usual DJ nights and the occasional barbecue party, they also host movie viewings every week. The fare runs the gamut from pop culture favourites and slapstick comedies to classics and indie. And oh, did we mention that there’s free popcorn for everybody?
Marketplace, No.4A Lorong Yap Kwan Seng 50450 KL. +6010 205 2563. Free admission.
Every Tuesday night, this Spanish bar shows international movies that aren’t usually available in mainstream movie theatres. At the time of writing, they’ve been focusing on European and South American selections. The bar’s owners are avid film buffs themselves and often select the films personally. They’re open to suggestions from friends and regulars as well as the embassies they’ve collaborated with. There are no charges for admission and popcorn but you’ll have to order your own drink from the bar’s wide range of cocktails, gin, and tonics.
29, Jalan Mesui, off Jalan Nagasari, Kuala Lumpur.+603 2142 2900, email@example.com. Free admission.
Built in 1932, The Majestic KL pays homage to neoclassical and art deco styles. Besides the Reading Room, Cigar Room, and Card Room, there’s also a Screening Room. In this enclosed space with cushy leather lounge chairs, guests may watch movies from the 1930s onwards. The colonial era hotel is also one of the few spaces dedicated to showing old films starring Malaysian stars P. Ramlee and Saloma. Non-guests shouldn’t fret though. This unconventional screening room is also open to patrons of The Smoke House, a dining establishment at The Majestic.
5, Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin, 50000 Kuala Lumpur, +603 2785 8000. Free admission.
Built in 1920 by one of Malaysia’s most illustrious businessmen, Chua Cheng Bok, the LFS Coliseum has a storied history. Originally named the Coliseum Theatre, it is the oldest and longest running cinema in Malaysia. From its inception to the present, the art-deco style theatre remains the go-to spot for lovers of Tamil films. And it has ties to W. Somerset Maugham since the neighbouring Coliseum Café and Hotel was one of the novelist’s favourite haunts when he stayed in British Malaya. If you’re feeling literary, you could visit the Coliseum Café after a viewing and hope Maugham’s genius will rub off on you.
No. 96, Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, 50100 Kuala Lumpur, +603 2691 0167. Ticket fees apply.
The shopping gallery’s Movie Under the Stars event has been a fixture on multiple lists of unconventional screening venues for several years now. Usually held weekly on Monday nights, the outdoor theatre screens a wide range of films. They’ve run Yasmin Ahmad favourites such as Sepet and Gubra in the past and partnered with various organisations to present environmental films and documentaries as well as foreign films from Japan and France. This one’s for movie aficionados who seek socially progressive stories in their films. You’re advised to bring your own blankets though as it can get pretty cold.
The Square, Publika, Jalan Dutamas 1, 50480 Kuala Lumpur, +603 6211 7877. Free admission.
Primarily known as a space that showcases homegrown contemporary art, the gallery also hosts screenings once in a while. The films screened are diverse and range from an anthology of short films such as Antologi Filpen Roti to international fare such as Indonesian filmmaker Kamila Andini’s family drama, The Mirror Never Lies.
No. 8 Jalan Binjai, Off Persiaran KLCC, 50450 Kuala Lumpur, +603 2181 3003. Free admission.
By Zoe Liew.
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