Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Showtime In The Kingdom

Audiences in Saudi Arabia can finally go to the movies again.

Saudi Arabia has officially lifted the ban on movie theaters. Movies will open on two screens in Jeddah and Taef on Dec. 9.

The first movie to play in the kingdom will be "Milk" the story of the gay civil rights hero as portrayed by Sean Penn. (ok, that's actually a joke)

The first title is actually a local film titled "Menahi"; a $2 million movie directed by Ayman Makram, it is the first bigscreen incarnation of popular Saudi TV persona Menahi, a naive, humble farmer who often finds himself involved in comic escapades. It centers on Menahi's involvement in a get-rich-quick scheme and traveling from his tribal homeland to the booming metropolis of Dubai.

The movie has already opened in neighboring Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait.

Saudi film execs have been inching their way toward this day for many months. In May this year, the Dammam Literary Club held the the conservative kingdom's first official film fest.

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