Saudi Arabia has been witnessing massive changes over the past year, making it an eruptive period in the nation’s history. One of the biggest changes that the nation has implemented is lifting the 35-year ban on cinemas. To some, this may be a minuscule, even overdue, change; but to me, it is much more.
The lift of the ban on cinemas means more than the Saudi people being able to legally go to movie theatres and watch movies. It’s more than just the popcorn and large screens.
It will empower and motivate local filmmakers and creatives
Films are woven in the fabric of the most artistic communities; the cinema is the heart of the entertainment industry. I can easily stop and think of the people I personally know, that were mesmerised by the film industry and went on to pursue a career in film production and other forms of the art. I’m sure that, to many Saudis, this could be the trigger towards a future in entertainment and a stepping stone to a nation of artists and film producers that are waiting to be discovered.
More job opportunities for Saudis
With the ban on cinemas lifted, more jobs are created in the film industry, from the ticket salesman at a ticket booth in the movie theatres to the creation and establishment of a Saudi Arabian movie industry; possibly the next Bollywood.
It will be the first step to a modernising, more moderate Islam
Gradually making changes to matters previously untouched opens up a whole new world of infinite possibilities. Such is the case with the return of cinemas. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been quoted several times from official interviews vocalising how Saudi Arabia is, slowly but surely, moving towards a more modernised Islamic nation.
Being a Bahraini myself, I can attest that the home of the two holiest mosques is moving towards a more modernised community, much like its neighbouring island to the east, the Kingdom of Bahrain. The nation will, of course, maintain moderation and modesty, at the end of the day, as it is the Home of Islam in the world.
The ban lift even brings in an educational angle
I myself have improved my English in multitudes merely through movies. Let’s take a second and visualise how this simple step could be the leading reason of better English speakers in the nation.
Arab News even quoted a tweet from Loay Al-Shareef, a Saudi content creator and ancient civilisation researcher who said, “Let’s make a deal and go into each movie with a piece of paper. Then let’s fill it with words and phrases that we could benefit from in the film, and add in advice to strengthen our English just as many of us have strengthened our language by watching films.”
This is the first step to a very exciting time in Saudi history
Again, if you’re a reader from the other side of the world, this might not seem like the most groundbreaking news for you, but know for sure that this one step will go a long way in creating a domino effect in the nation’s progress towards a bigger, more independent economy and social prosperity.
And I can’t wait as it unfolds. This is only the beginning.