Saudi Arabia lifts 35 year ban on cinemas

Saudi Arabia lifts 35 year ban on cinemas

Inside cinema

Saudi Arabia continued its new policy of opening up its society by allowing cinemas to operate for the first time in 35 years. the first will open in March and there are expected to be about 2000 operating within the first 12 years.

Its a move that has been widely welcomed but also apprehensively as the speed of the current social changes may invoke a backlash from the conservative clerics that have been steering the country in recent years.

The other recent changes have included allowing women to drive by next June and allowing women into sports stadiums. Citizens have of course been able to circumvent the law up to now by streaming the moves that they want or using satellite TV. A home
grown movie Wadjda made history in 2013 by becoming the first movie from Saudi Arabia to be an Academy Award entrant, although it was not eventually shortlisted. This was the first movie shot entirely in the kingdom.

The director of this movie, Haifa Al Manour, mentioned that it was nice for Saudi Arabia to be in the news for something positive for a change.

“I feel like we’re about to relive what Egypt was like in the ‘50s.”

She said, referring to the explosion of film-making in what is now the epicenter of Arabic popular cinema.

It could become an industry of 30,000 new jobs and generate an extra $24 billion into the economy.

The Ministry of Culture and Information is going to be issuing regulations for this new market over the next few weeks.

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