Private screening of ‘Born a King’ in Riyadh

Prince Turki Al-Faisal making his way to the private screening of 'Born a King.' (AN Photo/Basheer Saleh)
Updated 04 April 2019
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Private screening of ‘Born a King’ in Riyadh

  • Film is the first to depict a Saudi head of state on the big screen

RIYADH: “Born a King,” the biopic based on the life of King Faisal Al-Saud, has had its first private screening at the Vox Cinema in Riyadh.
The event, hosted by Prince Turki Al-Faisal, was attended by members of the royal family including Prince Sultan bin Salman and Prince Bader bin Abdul Mohsin. Abdullah Khalil, the actor who played King Faisal, was also present, alongside members of the production team. 
The film opens with his 1919 visit to London when he was still a young prince, on a diplomatic mission on behalf of his father, King Abdul Aziz, to King George V of England. It goes on to depict the formative experiences and relationships in his life, including with his father and his brothers, which turned him into the king he later became.
The film’s cultural adviser and assistant art director, Princess Tarfa bint Fahad Al-Saud, told Arab News: “It was not easy to get information from that period of time, and we relied on the (royal) family for details.” She credited her grandparents and family for supplying her with stories, all of which were invaluable to the process of creating the biopic.
“It was a period of time that we haven’t ever talked about, but all these details are portrayed in the movie,” she added, calling the film’s director, Agusti Villaronga, an “amazing artist” for his dedication to the project. 
“For us as Saudis, it is super sensitive. It was a responsibility (for the production team), but they did their best. I want to credit everyone, because everyone was a part of it. It was a national mission.”
The film took three years to make, and was shot at various locations, including the UK and historical villages on the outskirts of Riyadh. Hundreds of Saudis contributed to the movie’s production, as crew, extras, or stunt men.
The official movie premiere date has yet to be announced.


Korean language rising in popularity among Saudis

Updated 5 min 48 sec ago
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Korean language rising in popularity among Saudis

  • Korean is the 20th most spoken language in the world, and is gaining popularity as the second foreign language across Asia

JEDDAH: Korean music and TV, better known as K-pop and K-drama, have relished a momentous rise in popularity all over the world.

As Korean soap operas and pop groups have captivated audiences, Korean has become an appealing language to learn. Now, Saudis are joining the growing crowd of enthusiasts.

There are a variety of reasons why Saudis want to learn Korean: To enjoy watching their favorite shows in the original language, to visit and experience the culture of Korea first-hand, or even to move to South Korea. 

“Most of my students loved K-pop and Korean dramas, and they wanted to expand their knowledge by learning the language,” Myung Hee Park from the Korean International School in Jeddah told Arab News.

“Sometimes they learned the language because they wanted to understand the shows without having to read the English subtitles.”

People from all over Saudi Arabia are traveling to Korea to attend concerts and watch their favorite artists perform.

“Lots of the people who come to learn from me have an experience of visiting Korea and enjoying concerts by artists such as BTS, Monsta X or SM Town,” Myung said.

Saudi appreciation of Korea does not stop at entertainment. “Some of my students wanted to study at Korean universities too,” Myung said.

Last November, 51 people took part in the first Ambassador’s Cup Korean Speech competition, held at the official residence of the South Korean ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Jo Byung-wook. The competition was organized to promote the country’s culture, language and heritage.

“The growing interest in learning the Korean language in Saudi Arabia shows the strength of our bilateral relations,” said the ambassador.

“Korean is the 20th most spoken language in the world, and is gaining popularity as the second foreign language across Asia, the US and even the Middle East.”

Myung said: “There are many (cultural) similarities between the two countries, and I think that’s one of the reasons why Saudis have fallen in love with Korean culture so easily.”

She said Prince Sultan Al-Faisal Al-Saud “is an amazing student. Even when he comes back from long business trips, he resumes his lessons the very next day. I can see joy in the eyes of the people I’m teaching, and it makes my profession very rewarding.”

English teacher Amira Mohammad Al-Khateeb, who has been learning Korean, said: “It’s one of the languages that I’ve always wanted to learn. I’ve been watching Korean dramas for years, and at some point I sat myself down and said, ‘Amira you must learn the language now.’ I was delighted to find the school in Jeddah.”

She added: “After I learn the language, I intend to go to Korea and become a teacher there. I don’t just want to speak Korean for fun, I want to become a part of Korean culture.”