Niklas Grapatin         Portrait      Stories     Contact      Tearsheets  






These buildings stand in the cityscape like forgotten monuments of the past. They are more then building created for entertainment: people come to escape the bright, noisy and busy streets of Dhaka, to sit in the darkness and be on their own. They find silence and peace inbetween crumbling walls, with the muted sounds of film surrounding them.

I've always been fascinated by cinema halls. It felt like the space and the objects were containing the atmosphere of all the stories told on screen. As if fiction influences the reality and generates a movie itself, where I'm in, whenever I enter a cinema hall. But as our world
becomes more digital these charismatic places loose their audience, decay and become rare. Especially in Old Dhaka, in the capital of Bangladesh, the vanishing is very visible. There are a few halls left and you can see them disappear, but at the same time offering a deep look into the history and beauty of their space: the covers of the seats are torn by the weight of thousands of visitors over the decades, cracks in the walls, patterns on the grounds are fading, wall paint crumbling away and showing the layers beneath. And there are the
characters who work and spent most of their lifetime in the darkness of the halls, with eyes that have seen more movies then anyone else.

Sometimes a cinema hall suddenly disappears, without any protest or leaving traces behind. And with the building something else gets lost forever. Every Hall has its own athmosphere, was a place where thousands of people got lost in stories and dreams. And if the building vanishes, so do this feelings, which are preserved in this space that seems to be isolated from the outside world.

Published in ZEIT-Magazin