Moustapha Akkad’s ‘The Message’ to be shown in Saudi Arabia

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CAPTIONS: Stills from "The Message" which has now undergone extensive restoration and will be screened in 4K at Vox Cinemas Riyadh Park during Eid-Al-Fitr. (Tarik Film Distributors)
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CAPTIONS: Stills from "The Message" which has now undergone extensive restoration and will be screened in 4K at Vox Cinemas Riyadh Park during Eid-Al-Fitr. (Tarik Film Distributors)
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CAPTIONS: Stills from "The Message" which has now undergone extensive restoration and will be screened in 4K at Vox Cinemas Riyadh Park during Eid-Al-Fitr. (Tarik Film Distributors)
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CAPTIONS: Stills from "The Message" which has now undergone extensive restoration and will be screened in 4K at Vox Cinemas Riyadh Park during Eid-Al-Fitr. (Tarik Film Distributors)
Updated 08 June 2018
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Moustapha Akkad’s ‘The Message’ to be shown in Saudi Arabia

  • The Oscar-nominated film was passed by the General Commission for Audiovisual Media
  • The cinema epic, which chronicles the life of Prophet Muhammad and the birth of Islam, has undergone extensive restoration

Director Moustapha Akkad’s masterpiece “The Message” will be screened in Saudi Arabia for the first time after being passed by the country’s censors.

The cinema epic, which chronicles the life of Prophet Muhammad and the birth of Islam, has undergone extensive restoration and will be screened in 4K at Vox Cinemas Riyadh Park during Eid-Al-Fitr.

The Oscar-nominated film was passed by the General Commission for Audiovisual Media (GCAM) at a screening on Thursday.

The film caused controversy when it was released in 1976 and was banned across much of the Arab world.

Now it will be given a widespread release across the region. Only Kuwait has continued its ban on the film.

Akkad’s son, Malek, has lobbied extensively for “The Message” to be screened across the region.

The director’s son has worked tirelessly on the film’s restoration and to reacquaint himself with his father’s work. 

“Ironically, even though it’s over 40 years later, probably the biggest challenge has been, once again, all the censorship boards and trying to get them to come around and see this film in a new light,” Akkad said.

“Over the years it has become a favorite, a classic in the region that they play on satellite stations, so a huge portion of the population are familiar with this film. But there is still an old guard on the censorship boards. However, I’m happy to say we have been pretty much successful in a large number of countries and I’m very happy about that.”

The re-release has been made possible by a collaboration between Akkad’s Trancas International and Dubai-based distribution company Front Row Filmed Entertainment.

Moustapha Akkad was born in Aleppo, Syria, had began work on the film in 1974, shooting two versions simultaneously — one in Arabic and one in English. The Arabic version featured some of the biggest stars of Arab cinema, including Abdullah Gaith in the lead role of Hamza. In the English version, the role of Hamza was played by Anthony Quinn.

In accordance with Islamic beliefs, Prophet Muhammad was not be depicted on screen nor was his voice heard.


Arsenal, Chelsea win in Europa League as Rangers hold Villarreal

Aubameyang opened the scoring in London after 32 minutes of the Group E encounter. (Reuters)
Updated 57 min 54 sec ago
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Arsenal, Chelsea win in Europa League as Rangers hold Villarreal

  • I think we played well in the first half and in the beginning of the second as well: Aubameyang
  • Chelsea made a winning start to their Group L campaign as Willian's seventh-minute effort was enough to see off PAOK

PARIS: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang struck twice as Arsenal defeated Ukraine's Vorskla Poltava 4-2 in the Europa League on Thursday, while in-form Chelsea began their campaign with a 1-0 win away to PAOK in Greece.
Aubameyang has struggled to hit top gear in the Premier League so far with just one goal in five starts, but the Gabon striker opened the scoring in London after 32 minutes of the Group E encounter.
Danny Welbeck nodded in a second just after half-time and Aubameyang curled in the Gunners' third, with Mesut Ozil also on target before a lapse in concentration saw Vorskla hit back with two late goals.
"I think we played well in the first half and in the beginning of the second as well," Aubameyang told BT Sport.
"We have to improve and try to fight not to concede a goal like we did in the last minute."
Premier League leaders Chelsea made a winning start to their Group L campaign as Willian's seventh-minute effort was enough to see off PAOK at a hostile Toumba Stadium.
Eden Hazard was omitted from the Chelsea squad at his own request due to fatigue, but manager Maurizio Sarri fielded a strong side as the Blues extended their winning run to six games in all competitions.
"We were in control of the match for 90 minutes. We had a lot of opportunities. We missed them and so I'm very happy with the three points, very happy with the performance, but not very happy with the result," said Sarri.
"When it's time to kill the match, we have to kill the match."
Steven Gerrard's Rangers acquitted themselves well on their first appearance in the group stage of a European competition since the 2010-11 Champions League, as they came away with a 2-2 draw against Villarreal.
A disastrous start for the Glasgow side saw Carlos Bacca fire Villarreal ahead inside 60 seconds, but Scott Arfield turned home a cross from Daniel Candeias to level on 67 minutes.
Gerard Moreno put the hosts back in front almost immediately, only for Kyle Lafferty to again hit back for Rangers as Gerrard's men made a solid start in Group G.
Leigh Griffiths hit a late winner for Celtic in a 1-0 home victory over Rosenborg, a team Brendan Rodgers' side knocked out in this season's Champions League qualifying rounds.
Salzburg triumphed in the clash of Red Bulls in the other Group B fixture as Fredrik Gulbrandsen scored a minute from time to give the Austrian club a 3-2 victory over RB Leipzig.
Marseille, last season's runners-up, slumped to a 2-1 home defeat by Eintracht Frankfurt in Group H as Luka Jovic grabbed an 89th-minute winner for the reigning German Cup champions.
Lucas Ocampos opened the scoring early for Marseille, who were playing behind closed doors at the Stade Velodrome after numerous crowd incidents last season.
But Lucas Torro levelled on 52 minutes for Eintracht before Jovic's late strike won it.
Dudelange, the first Luxembourg team to play in the Europa League group stage, made seven-time European champions AC Milan work hard for a 1-0 win in Group F.
Luxembourg's Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa were in the crowd as Dudelange, who have a dozen non-professional players in their squad, succumbed to a deflected second-half goal by Gonzalo Higuain.
Record five-time winners Sevilla launched their Group J campaign with a 5-1 rout of Standard Liege, as Ever Banega and Wissam Ben Yedder both netted twice for the Spaniards.