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SAUDI AND IRANIAN FILMS
SAUDI ARABIA'S FIRST FILM SHOWN IN INDIA
Saudi Arabia, a very rich nation that is the center of Islam, does not have any movie theaters. Citizens, however, watch their favorite movies at home with their family and friends through the great invention of DVDs. The first ever Saudi feature film was recently shown in a film festival in New Delhi, capital of India, the country which is home to the second largest Muslim population. India is also home to the largest Shi'ite population, a sect that is the dominant majority in Iran and Iraq.
The title of the movie is Keif Alhal, which means, "How are you?" It is a romantic comedy. The movie was produced by Izidore Musallam. The film focuses on family life of the conservative society of Arabia. The company that produced the movie is owned by one of the princes of ruling Saudi family. It is reported that the Prince is concerned about the issue of women's rights and is against radical politics of Islam.
SOON CINEMA COMPLEXES
There is already a proposal to build a movie theater complex in Riyadh by 2007, newspapers report. That will be a huge leap forward for Saudi Arabia.
When a movie complex becomes operational, I have no doubt that there will be creative contextualization of the show business in Arabia: from seating arrangements in the theaters to the classification or Board of Film Censors Certificates.
ACTRESSES IN SAUDI FILM
It is customary in the Arab world that actresses are usually hired from other Arab countries. This first ever Saudi film breaks this barrier and uses the talents of a national Saudi Arabia actress. However, the leading role is still played by a Jordanian actress, who appears unveiled in the movie, newspapers claim. The main character has secret romance. Scenes of women driving cars in far off places within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are also shown. Women are not yet allowed to drive cars in the Kingdom. 'If we change things one inch, that is a huge achievement," director Izidore Musallam said according to news agency reports.
Indian plays used to employ males to act female roles. Acting was then considered to be a desirable or respectable. Things have changed dramatically.
In Saudi Arabia too, the power of the film medium will soon be in display. One hopes that films will educate people and not suppress the basic human freedom in the name of religion and tradition.
A FILM FROM IRAN
Off-side is a new movie that deals with a forbidden subject, in the eyes of Iranian clergy who rules Iran. Young women showed great interest in the just concluded Soccer World Cup. Women were forbidden from watching games in the public arena along with men in Iran. After the release of the movie, the President allowed women to watch the games in the public arena along with men. However, the movie itself is now banned in Iran by the clergy as something that works against the principles and ideals of Islam.
The story is about young girls in Iran. Young women dressed as boys attempt to enter the qualifying match between Iran and Bahrain. But they are arrested and kept near where the match is held. they could hear all the noises, and the progress of the game through the sounds of the audience. But, alas, so near and yet so far away. Indeed a metaphor portraying the plight of Iranian women. The film is said to be in the mould of a documentary but very interesting as a story.
M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
C/o. Christian Literature and Living
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