Travelling Back to an Old Cinema “LUX Theatre”

10 July 2023 by
Daisy Wong

Many places in Hong Kong still hold the "old Hong Kong" flavour. This Chinese New Year, many Hong Kongers have been enjoying the holiday by going to the cinema to watch "A Guilty Conscience". Besides the large cinemas located in shopping malls, it turns out that Hong Kong has the only cinema that still uses manual seat assignment - the LUX Theatre.

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Old-fashioned Decor

LUX Theatre has a long history, and when you enter the theatre, it feels like you are travelling back in time to the old-style theatres of the 70s and 80s. Its decor is very nostalgic, with white fluorescent lights and flooring and tiles that differ greatly from those of modern theme theatres. The preserved decor is also very different from the decor seen in today's chain theatres. Not only the decor layout, but also the equipment used is different.

Weighing Machines and Film Projectors

Weighting Machine

Source: Ulifestyle

The theatre exhibits different old equipment, including the old film projectors and the weighing machines that were very popular in Hong Kong in the 60s and 70s and could be found outside almost every theatre. You can first take a look at the weighing machine at the entrance, as it was difficult for a typical family at that time to own a large and heavy weighing machine. The LUX Theatre has always kept their original weighing machine, where you can insert two dollars and step onto the machine with the LUX Theatre sign. Inside the machine, the equipment is very sophisticated, and the red and white gears turn several times. In an instant, the lights flash, and a cute little card with your weight on it is produced, recreating the nostalgic times of the past.

Then, the film projector is on display when you entered the ticket office. Back then, movies were projected by hand and required the film to be loaded sequentially into the film projector before pulling the projection machine's lever to display the magnificent movie scenes. Sometimes, the film would break. In such cases, the projectionist would have to cut away the damaged part of the film, attach the remaining film to the splice machine, and then continue playing the movie.

A Small Museum Exhibition

Small Museum Exhibition

Source: Ulifstyle

The venue is like a small museum exhibiting various old theatre signs and movie tickets. Unlike modern theatres, which use electronic theatre signs and colourful posters that shine brightly and can be changed at any time, the LUX Theatre’s exhibition only has posters pasted on display boards. The movie schedule is also handwritten on a whiteboard, which is very unique and takes people back to the theatres of the 70s instantly.

Old-fashioned Ticketing Service - Manual Seat Allocation

Old-fashioned Ticketing

Source: Ulifstyle

Tickets can only be purchased on site and seat allocations are done manually. There is no website to display seat availability or online ticketing service. Movie schedules can only be found on the LUX Theatre’s Facebook page or on a handwritten board behind the door, which is very nostalgic and interesting. As there is only one theatre, you only need to tell the staff your selected seat, without having to choose a movie. It does not have the aroma of freshly popped popcorn like modern cinemas, and it only sells packaged food, such as potato chips. All these small details make the LUX Theatre full of old-world charm.

Seats in the Screening Room

Screening Room

Source: Ulifstyle

There is only one screening room in the theatre, and the tradition of tearing the movie tickets by hand is preserved when entering the theatre. The chairs are very old-fashioned and different from the current cinemas' dark red and luxurious velvet seats. The chairs in the LUX Theatre are a kind of orange-red colour from the 1970s, giving the nearly thousand seats a community hall atmosphere. As the music of movie gradually plays, it feels like watching a movie in a memory lane.

After watching a movie, one would feel like they have travelled through time and space. The LUX Theatre is full of historical significance, allowing people to reminisce about the old Hong Kong. It preserves the decoration of the old-fashioned cinema. Fortunately, with its persistence, it has reproduced the appearance of this community from decades ago, allowing us to experience the atmosphere of the past. I hope it can continue to preserve such precious traditions and characteristics. Have you ever been there?

Capture.HK values memories from the past, as they cannot be replaced. Apart from presenting the appearance of the past, just like a cinema, more and more physical entities are gradually disappearing. We can only savour the memories through photos and videos. Capture.HK offers digitisation services to digitise old photo albums, photographs, and videotapes, allowing the memories to be passed on and enabling you to see your precious memories anytime, anywhere on your mobile phone.

*This article is brought to you by Capture HK.

Capture HK is the premier analogue media digitisation company in Hong Kong.

Capture HK's business covers photographs, photo album digitisation, videotapes digitisation, including VHS, S-VHS, VHS-C, S-VHS-C Hi-8, Video8, Digital8, DV, DVCAM, MiniDV, DVC and digital media digitisation, including Secure Digital (SD), Smart Media (SM), MultiMediaCard (MMC) Compact Flash (CF), xD-Picture Card, Memory Stick, USB Drive, CDROM, DVD.

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