Saudi Film Festival highlights socio-cultural issues

Saudi actors pose before the opening ceremony of the fourth Saudi Film Festival held in Dhahran. (AFP)
Updated 29 March 2017

Saudi Film Festival highlights socio-cultural issues

DHAHRAN: The fourth edition of the Saudi Film Festival in Dhahran is treating audiences to a host of creative films on various socio-cultural issues.
As crowds gather to explore the country’s filmmaking talent, Arab News caught up with Ali Al-Kalthami, the director behind the film “Wasati.”
The movie was screened in Los Angeles in 2016 during the two-day Saudi Film Days event and addresses Saudi culture.
“The movie addresses some of the stereotypes people might have about Saudi Arabia and the people here,” Al-Kalthami told Arab News.
“Wasati” is based on real-life events that happened during the performance of a play in Riyadh 10 years ago. The play was called “Wasati bela Wastiah,” which roughly translates to “A Moderate Without a Middle-Ground,” and during one of its performances, a group of extremists attacked the theater.
That story made headlines and shook Saudi society and now, Al-Kalthami is recounting the events from a different perspective, using dark humor to get the message across to the audience.
When asked if he envisions widespread acceptance of the movie in Saudi Arabia, Al-Kalthami said: “This is an important story for film enthusiasts, for artists and for real people.”
Al-Kalthami is a director, producer, actor and co-founder of entertainment production and distribution companies C3Films and Telfaz11.
The Saudi Film Festival is screening a slew of movies dedicated to discussing pressing issues in the country. On the second day of the event, the following movies were screened at 4 p.m.: “Jaber” (drama, social), “Invasion” (fantasy), “Shells” (stop motion, social), “The Story of the Sword” (fantasy, thriller), “The Right Helmet” (drama, comedy), “Why do people listen to Shailaat?” (creative documentary, musical), “Humanization of the Cities” (documentary) and “Sadaqa Jariah” (drama, comedy).
During the second session, which ran at 6:30 p.m., the following movies were screened: “Tongue” (drama, thriller), “The Music Box Dancer” (psychodrama, social), “Tawq” (psychodrama) and “A matter of trust” (drama).
During the third session, which ran at 8:00 p.m., the screened movies included: “I Can’t Kiss Myself” (mystery, fantasy), “Refuge” (drama, thriller), “The Wedding Dress” (drama), “Zaina’s Cake” (drama, romance).
During the outdoor movies session, which ran at 9:00 p.m., Hungarian film “Sing” and Spanish film “I’ve Just had a Dream” were shown.


Egyptian civilian triggers discovery of ancient temple

Updated 12 December 2019

Egyptian civilian triggers discovery of ancient temple

  • An archaeological mission discovered an entire temple underneath the village of Mit Rahinah

CAIRO: Nobody in the Egyptian Ministry of Culture could believe that an illegal attempt by a civilian to prospect for monuments underneath his own home would lead to a grand discovery.

But that is just what happened when this week the ministry began archaeological excavations in the Mit Rahinah area, neighboring the pyramids of Giza.

The illegal digging by the 60-year-old resident alerted the authorities who arrested him in the first week of this month. The tourism authorities then went in and were surprised by the discovery.   

The archaeological mission discovered an entire temple underneath the village of Mit Rahinah.

According to a statement issued by the ministry, 19 chunks of pink granite and limestone bearing inscriptions depicting Ptah, the god of creation and of the ancient city Manf, were also discovered. 

Among the finds were also an artifact traceable to the reign of Ramesses II and inscriptions showing the king practicing a religious ritual. 

Egyptian researcher Abdel-Magid Abdul Aziz said Ptah was idolized in Manf. In one image, the god is depicted as a human wrapped in a tight-fitting cloth.

The deity was also in charge of memorial holidays and responsible for several inventions, holding the title Master of all Makers.

“There’s a statue of the god Ptah in the Egyptian Museum, in its traditional form as a mummy,” Abdul Aziz said.

“His hands come out from the folds of his robe ... as depicted in art pieces. Ptah appears as a bearded, buried man,” he added.

“Often he wears a hat, with his hands clutching Ankh (the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol for the key of life).”

Ayman Ashmawy, head of ancient Egyptian artifacts at the Ministry of Antiquities, said: “The artifacts are in the process of being restored, and have been moved to the museum’s open garden in Mit Rahinah.” He added that work was being done to discover and restore the rest of the temple.

As for the illegal prospecting of the area by its people, Ashmawy said the residents of Mit Rahinah were seeking to exploit the monuments.

He added that the law forbids prospecting for archaeological monuments, and that doing so could lead to a long prison sentence and a major fine, up to hundreds of thousands of Egyptian pounds. 

Mit Rahinah contains a large number of monuments, which have been discovered by chance. The area is home to an open museum, 20 km south of Cairo.

“What we see from current discoveries in Mit Rahinah are just snapshots of an ancient city that was once vibrant,” Ilham Ahmed, chief inspector of the archaeological mission, told Arab News.