Going to the movies in Saigon

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Filipino Hard Rock, Seventeen Saloon, Saigon
Seventeen Saloon, Ho Chi Minh City plays host to a rockin’ Filipino 7-piece and some cool fire jugglers. Time: 07:19
This is a direct extract from the blog "Saigon In A Cup". I wouldn't normally post in this way, infection but the author captures the feeling of going to the movies in Saigon so perfectly that I couldn't do it any better.
I'm about to go see Avatar 3D next week, so I'm hoping that the fervor associated with it to date will cancel out any poor behavior usually to be expected.
To read the full post go here. 

EXTRACT FROM SAIGON IN A CUP – "A night at the movies in Saigon"
When we first entered the (Cinebox Hoa Binh) theater, there were signs posted in Vietnamese listing the theater rules

1. No talking during the movie
2. No talking on cell phones
3. No cameras or filming equipment allowed
4. No outside food or drink allowed

These are some pretty standard rules for theaters in The States…and I was happy to see that the same type of conduct was expected in Saigon. I was a bit worried about movie etiquette in Vietnam because this country has such a “me first” attitude. You see it in the traffic…where everyone basically drives without any regard for anyone else’s safety. You see it in lines at the supermarkets, food stalls, etc. where most people just shove their way to the front to cut in line. You see it in the ubiquitous littering everywhere. I had hopes that the movie theater experience might actually be different because of the rules posted in the front. They also had pre-movie videos reiterating the same rules posted on the board.

My worse fears however were soon proven to be correct.

People were talking to each other, talking on their cell phones, eating their own food, etc. before the movie started, during the movie trailers and throughout the movie itself. I don’t believe there was one moment during the whole excruciating ordeal when I could just focus on the movie. The movie itself was in Chinese with Vietnamese subtitles…so I couldn’t understand anything anyways…but I knew the basic plot from the Disney version and would have liked to have been able to focus on the film without the constant blabbering.

Yes there are people that behave like that in The States too….but usually they are in the minority…and even then they usually only talk in spurts. Here, everyone acted if the theater was their own personal space. People not only answered their phones….but would initiate calls. If it was just a few people you can turn to them and tell them to “shut the f$%k up!”…but what do you do when the entire freaking theater is acting that way?

As we left…I told my Aunt that this was probably the first and last time I would ever watch a movie in a Vietnam cinema. When I relayed what happened to my cousin and her husband, they told me that the type of people that frequent the Cinebox Hoa Binh were mostly younger kids that use the theater as a place to hang out/make out and not for serious movie goers. They said that the nicer theaters in Saigon did not permit this type of behavior.


The Megastar Cineplex is a much nicer looking theater than the Hoa Binh Cinebox. According to Phuong, the theater had just opened in the past year. The theater we were in was small in comparison to most theaters in the U.S…..but it had stadium riser seating….which the Cinebox did not….and the sound system and picture quality was excellent. However, all these qualities could not end up saving the whole movie going experience for me.

In spite of my my cousin and Phuong’s assurances people in the “nicer theaters” in Saigon behaved differently than the people at Hoa Binh….it was exactly the same. People here cannot ever keep their mouths shut. I tried to block them out but it was impossible for me to fully enjoy the movie.

Posted via email from RockPortrait in Vietnam