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.


Ninth lawmaker quits Britain’s opposition Labour Party

Updated 7 min 53 sec ago
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Ninth lawmaker quits Britain’s opposition Labour Party

  • Corbyn, a supporter of Palestinian rights and critic of the Israeli government, has previously been accused by some of failing to tackle anti-Semitism in the party. He denies the allegation

LONDON: British lawmaker Ian Austin resigned from the opposition Labour Party on Friday, the ninth person to do so this week, saying it was “broken” and had been taken over by the “hard left.”

Austin said he was appalled at the treatment of Jewish lawmakers who had taken a stand against anti-Semitism and that the “the party is tougher on the people complaining about anti-Semitism than it is on the anti-Semites.”

“The Labour Party has been my life, so this has been the hardest decision I have ever had to take, but I have to be honest and the truth is that I have become ashamed of the Labour Party under (leader) Jeremy Corbyn,” he told the Express and Star newspaper.

“I could never ask local people to make Jeremy Corbyn Prime Minister.”

Corbyn has promised to drive anti-Semitism out of the party.

Austin said he did not currently have any plans to join The Independent Group in parliament, launched by seven of his former Labour colleagues on Monday and since joined by an eighth as well as three former members of the governing Conservatives.

A Labour lawmaker since 2005 and a former government minister, Austin supports Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal and is not in favor of holding a second referendum, putting him at odds with the other Independent Group members.