This post is not about a new movie or an old one. In fact, it is not really about a particular movie at all. It is simply a piece of news that I find amazing. Did you know that showing movies publicly in Saudi Arabia had been banned decades ago? Forgive my ignorance but I really did not know that! Hence, when I read the news that the people in Saudi Arabia were rejoicing and queuing up like anything just to watch a movie in the theatre, I was surprised – and that is an understatement! Here is a report by AFP:
They howled and clapped, munching popcorn while cheering the figures on the screen — a normal movie theatre scene elsewhere, but revolutionary in Saudi Arabia where films have not played publicly for decades.
Massive lines snaked out from the King Abdul Aziz Cultural Centre as Jeddah residents queued up to see the first feature film open to the public for 30 years, hoping the event heralded a big change in the ultra-conservative kingdom’s stinted cultural scene.
In what took hush-hush negotiations with senior political officials and the strict religious police, the Red Sea port of Jeddah and the nearby city of Taif allowed the Rotana entertainment group, owned by powerful Saudi tycoon Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, to put on its new comedy “Manahi” for nine days.
The result was overwhelming, the 1,200-seat hall hardly meeting the demand for the 15-riyal (four-dollar) tickets over more than a week.
This just goes to show that movies really do make a difference in people’s lives, don’t you think? Now I wonder if they will ever get around to showing movies from Hollywood anytime soon?