After more than 30 years, Saudis once again can go out to the movies. The Arabic film "Menahi," produced by the company Rotana owned by Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, was screened for the first time in Jeddah on Dec. 9. The close relationship between Prince Al-Waleed and the royal family headed by King Abdullah was the main factor in convincing religious authorities to lift the ban on cinema that was imposed on Saudi society in the 1970s.
General Manager of Rotana Studios Ayman Halawani said in a press conference held before the premiere of "Menahi” that it is the first film to be shown in movie theatres in Saudi Arabia. He added that he hoped it would be considered appropriate in regard to Saudi customs, traditions and sense of privacy.
"Menahi," directed by Ayman Makaram at a cost of US$2 million stars Saudi actor Fayez Al-Malki as Menahi, a simple and humble farmer who always finds himself involved in comic adventures.
A young unmarried Saudi of Bedouin origins in his 30s who lives with his elderly mother and owns a small farm to raise goats and poultry, Menahi heads for the big city, but cannot adjust to life there. That is why he sometimes appears naïve, while at other times his innate intelligence enables him to get him out of embarrassing situations.
After the film was shown in Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, France, and Switzerland, Rotana decided to show it in Egyptian theatres, where it became the first Gulf film to be shown in Cairo’s venerable movie palaces.
[Reuters News Agency, Elaph news Web site]