Cinemas in Saudi Arabia
So as most of the world already knows, cinemas or movie theatres are banned in Saudi Arabia. Public screening and public shows in general are very restricted. In my humble personal opinion, THAT’S PERFECT. In order to understand were I am coming from with this obviously contradicting opinion (since that now I live in a country that has more theatres than rappers have chains) you have to consider the pros and cons of the situation. Well, one of the main pros I can think of is that young messed up Saudi youth like me will have something to do instead of roaming the streets on the weekend trying to throw their numbers at every girl that walks. Another pro is that cinemas are actually good business. More money more money could never sound better. So what about cons? First of all, lets look at the retarded mechanism we would have of the theatre itself. Due to the conservative nature of our exclusive community, movies will end up lasting a max of half an hour after all the cuts and censoring of every kiss, hug and cuddle. Now even though people in Saudi can generally afford it, I don’t feel like spending money on 30 minutes of cut un-understandable censored entertainment. TWO, CEGREGATION of the sexes. The actual mechanism of the theatre when it comes to separation confuses me, see there is two ways to segregate the movies. One being like Saudi weddings, they hold separate ballrooms for men and another for woman. Second, like restaurants, a family section were married men and women enter with their entire families, and a singles section. So which one is it going to be? I can imagine two separate cinemas, one for woman and children and one for men. The problem with this is, one, what about the damn husbands who are forced to sit next to messed up teenagers waiting upon the disappointment of not being able to see Jessica Alba’s side tit because of censorship. Two, if the movie theatres are family sections and singles like restaurant’s are, rest assure its going to be packed with kids on dates or accompanying their sisters so they can get their Bluetooth action on. Now lets put the theatre itself aside and examine the movies that will be played. Here is the scenario, movie theatre exist. A list of randomly selected movies is playing. I am hypothetically watching them sitting next to Ali. Ali is a previous anti-movies religiously influenced 27-year-old friend. Who barely speaks English but will watch movies anytime just to waste time and be around people. Now we can assume some likely encountered scenarios.
-Batman: The Dark Night
Who of our generation did not grow up watching batman cartoons and TV series? Aaaaaah no one… Batman and superman were obviously the next best thing after Capitan Majid. So the movie starts and batman appears, I see the puzzled face on Ali’s face, he’s wondering is batman a man dressed as a bat or a bat and the movie couldn’t afford computer graphics. After spending the first half hour explaining to him why he is dressed liked that the joker comes up. Ali doesn’t care anymore because he can’t stop laughing at “ al-bahlawaan al madroob hatha” the movie ends. The aftermath? Every kid that watched the movie is either trying to talk like batman or the joker. Dads watching the movie have to explain to their kids that their hero would have been 10 times better if he was Muslim, and of course that the joker will come and get them if they don’t pray salat al fajr on time.
-Michael Jackson This is it
When I was young, I use to remember Michael Jackson albums being banned in every music store, being sold over the counter because of a stupid comment he made back in the day. The late departed really looked different right before he died, he kind of did look like a white woman…I wonder… if Michael Jackson went topless in his final concert movie will the scene be censored? Aftermath? A whole riot by uptight extremist protesting the movie saying Michael is a kafir and the enemy of every Muslim. even though Michael was a reported Muslim before he died. Can you imagine a guy like Ali sitting through any sort of musical? A Muhammad Abdo concert maybe but surely not michael…however, Saudi youth will not start imitating Michael dancing, since they never stopped. The moonwalk is still Saudi’s first ranking dance to any song.
-Chuck and Larry getting married
Haha… I don’t have to try hard on this one… chuck and Larry getting married is a movie made by Adam sandler and the fat guy from king of queens. It’s about two guys who get married so they can avoid paying taxes or something… I would love to see how Saudi theatres subtitle this movie… a wild guess, gay is “happy” and married is “befriended”… after censoring the scenes that would close down the theatres if they left them in, the movie will run for 13 minutes. Ali wont have another reaction other than saying “agool, shul salfah?”
-Ice age 3
Who doesn’t enjoy watching ice age 3? The story of dumb funny looking talking dinosaurs and animal doing crazy stunts back in the times were some Muslim extremists believe the world didn’t exist. Well, there was a fatwa a while ago about Mickey mouse and how if we saw him he should be killed, because he is a mouse. Now, I know the sheikh was taken out of context by western media just to take a cheap shot at Islam. What the sheikh was saying is that mice should be killed in Islam, so why are we making our kids see him as so lovable. Now this movie Ali may actually enjoy, I can just hear him laughing his ass of saying “shoof al faar yigry wara al foostogah yela’an shakloo” Nevertheless, can you imagine how much criticism would be released after a movie like ice age comes out? The sky is the limit.
Malcolm x. a historical figure. A leader among African Americans and in my opinion all Muslims as well. A man who found his path from the ideologies of the nation of Islam to the mainstream Sunni’s sect of Islam. Lead his people and was one of the most charismatic and revolutionary speakers until he was shot to death. The biopic was one of Denzel Washington’s best-played roles. However here lays the problem. Malcolm used to preach the teachings of the nation of Islam for ¾ of the movie (at his time teachings of the nation of Islam were only Islamic by name, white man was the devil, black man is god, Elijah Muhammad was a messenger and Fard Muhammad was god incarnate in Detroit) so that said, all his speeches early in the movie would be considered blasphemy and would have to be censored. “eesh yibga al-khaal hada?” Soooo…the 3-hour movie would eventually end up being a 40 min movie with no understandable story line leaving Ali puzzled “eesh yibga al-khaal hada?”.
Do you see where i am going with this? Lets assume that spoken words would not be censored. American pie trilogy, one of our times cornerstone comedies happen to have a (haraam) scene every couple of minutes. Any one of these 3 movies censored in Saudi would be the shortest movie ever to run in a theatre. Ali will hate, but will defiantly get it on DVD
Listen Saudi, I am as patriotic as a man could get. I criticize to make things better. I know that movies are available everywhere in Saudi, I over do it when I gave the examples and yes, satellites and Showtime do the job. As liberated as I am, I am fully against cinemas in Saudi. At least for the time being. WE ARE NOT READY, I know you can get any movie you want to buy a day after its release in the movies. God bless any one of those amazing Yemeni DVD guys at khaldyiah in Jeddah. But face it. We can’t have a theatre. It just won’t work. That’s just how it is for now.