Shortly after Saudi Arabia made the historic decision to lift the long-standing ban on public cinemas in December, the Kingdom began screening feature-length, animated children’s films in makeshift theaters over the weekend, including The Emoji Movie and Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie. The screenings served as a significant move for the Gulf country, which also welcomed women into sports stadiums for the first time in history last week.
Though the first public cinemas aren’t anticipated to open to Saudi movie goers until March, authorities are taking advantage of alternative venues, such as state-run cultural centers, to provide the public with an enjoyable cinematic experience until the official public cinemas open.
Despite the fact that Saudi Arabia has lifted the 35-year-long ban on public theaters, films will still be censored to ensure that they align with the country’s modest values. The Kingdom plans to open over 300 cinemas by 2030.
While we anticipate Saudi Arabia’s historic cinema debut in March, we roundup the five films we would like to watch on the big screen all over again:
The acclaimed local film by female director Haifaa al Mansour explores the role of women in conservative Saudi Arabia through the lens of an 11-year-old girl trying to raise enough money for bike.
Bab El Hadid
A 1958 drama that centers around a young man, Qinawi, who sells newspapers at a Cairo train station. Qinawi falls in love with Hannuma, a beautiful lemonade vendor at the same station. But word of warning, this is far from your typical love story.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Starring Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly, the 1961 Truman Capote adaptation has withstood the test of time.
Set during the second World War, this 1943 screen classic appeals to a wide variety of audiences with its iconic love story, black and white filming, and a rousing message.
This award-winning 2002 film was Tunisian filmmaker Raja Amari’s directorial debut. The film stars Hiam Abbass as Lilia, a traditional middle-aged widow who undergoes a major transformation.