Sec. 2, Wuchang St., Wanhua Dist., Taipei City 108, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
If you've ever been to Ximending, then you will know that this area is all about excess. Excessive makeup, excessive quantities of hairspray, an excessive number of cell phone shops, an excessive amount of students escaping their parents' expectations to be studious. Now apply that rule to movies and you'll get what is colloquially known as Ximending Cinema Street (西門町電影街). Although this name typically refers to a concentration of no less than four theaters along Wuchang Street, a handful of others can be found on Emei St. and Chengdu Rd. Lining these pedestrian-only streets are banners, screens, and various other elaborate marketing displays announcing upcoming blockbuster films. No two theaters offer the same lineup, with many also showing a mix of art house foreign language films and domestic productions.
Other than the obvious historicity of the nearby Red House, it's hard to imagine anything other than the modern chic appearance of Ximending's walking streets. But in fact, cinema has been at the heart of this district's vibrant lifestyle since Japanese colonial times. Some records indicate that by the 1930s, around eight theaters were in operation within just a few blocks of each other.
Be amazed at the impossibly cheap food and drink combos theaters offer in competition with the street vendors that setup shop outside their doors. In fact, it is legal in Taiwan to bring outside foods and beverages into a theater, so if you find something tasty looking, don't hesitate to bring it along to your film showing. But just remember, films in Taiwan have assigned seating, so if you want a good view, make sure to arrive early to reserve your seats!