Black Panther the ideal choice for Saudi cinema debut, says film critic

Jeddah-based film blogger Maher Mosly
Updated 19 April 2018

Black Panther the ideal choice for Saudi cinema debut, says film critic

  • No other movie suits the occasion as much as Black Panther does, says Mosly
  • Blogger predicts Saudi film industry to take off

JEDDAH: Few people are more ready for the opening of Saudi’s first cinema in more than 35 years than Maher Mosly, a Jeddah-based film blogger with a YouTube channel dedicated to his reviews in Arabic.

Mosly began reviewing films in 2014, watching films on iTunes about three months after release and traveling to Dubai every few months to watch batches of the big new releases. He saw Black Panther in Dubai, and believes it is an ideal choice for the new cinema’s first screening.

“No other movie suits the occasion as much as Black Panther does. It is a great choice because until now, we do not know the criterion that will be applied in cinemas here. Of course there will be regulations on what is safe to show, whether it is political or too different from Saudi culture.

“Black Panther is a safe choice: it is suitable for ages 13 and above, families can enjoy it, it has no controversial themes and is completely a fantasy genre.” 

He predicted that cinemas will be popular due to their novelty. “Tickets will sell, consumption will be high.” 

The new cinemas will also boost the film industry in the Kingdom. “Our movies are revealed at global festivals, but they are short films, and we never get a chance to see them. With the cinemas finally opening in the Kingdom, we will go into the industry. There will be professional institutes for theater, voice-acting etc,” Mosly said. 

“It won’t be something you do to pass the time any more,” he added. “It will be a profession from the start. We will have producers.”

Saudi film fans will no longer have to travel to neighbouring Gulf countries for screenings. “In Bahrain or Dubai, most who attend the cinemas are Saudis,” Mosly pointed out.  

“I believe that in a year, our cinemas will be more like the ones all over the Gulf countries. Dubai is doing a great job. It’s not accepting all movies, but not rejecting all movies either. Big movies are entering their cinemas, but with the necessary restrictions of course,” he said.

“Cinemas are never not a part of entertainment around the world. The easiest entertainment plan I can think of is to take my wife and kids out for dinner and later go to the movies. Cinemas are essential to entertainment.”


Worshippers flock to reopened Prophet’s Mosque for Friday prayers

Updated 06 June 2020

Worshippers flock to reopened Prophet’s Mosque for Friday prayers

MADINAH: Hundreds of thousands of worshippers attended the first Friday prayers to be held at the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah since the gatherings were suspended to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.

The green light for the resumption of the prayer meetings came as part of a plan to gradually reopen the Kingdom’s mosques while ensuring worshippers and visitors adhered to preventive measures.

A ban on access to the Rawdah remained in place and only groups of worshippers numbering up to a maximum of 40 percent of the mosque’s capacity were being allowed entry.

Precautionary measures also included the allocation of specific doors for the entry of worshippers, the installation of thermal cameras, removal of all carpets so that prayers could be performed on the marble, sanitization of the mosque’s floors and courtyards, periodic opening of domes and canopies to ventilate the mosque, and the removal of Zamzam water containers.

The Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah will be closed after evening prayers and reopened one hour before dawn prayers. Parking lots will operate at 50 percent capacity and a media awareness campaign has been launched to highlight safety procedures at the holy site.

Medical teams have also been stationed at the main entrances to the mosque in cooperation with the Ministry of Health.

Elsewhere in the Kingdom, worshippers also flocked to perform Friday prayers at mosques amid strict health measures.

On May 31, Saudi authorities reopened all mosques for prayers, except in Makkah, as part of the Kingdom’s plan for a gradual return to normal life.

Last week the minister of Islamic affairs, dawah and guidance said that the country’s mosques were ready to welcome back worshippers, following his field trips to check that necessary preparations had been made.

All worshippers must still maintain a distance of 2 meters between rows, wear masks to enter a mosque, and Friday sermons and prayers have been limited to a maximum of 15 minutes.