Friday 17 December 2010


In November 2010, I wrote an article called Cinema In Your Country, where I asked everyone to share a bit about how movies are seen and perceived in their own countries. The post got some wonderful replies in the comments, and many  of you also contacted me by email. I was particularly intrigued by some emails I was getting from Saudi Arabia, where cinema's don't exist. I had no idea this was true; and invited Fatma M-Z, who lives in Saudi Arabia, to tell us more about it from their own perspective. 

Written By Guest Author Fatma M - Z

In Saudi Arabia, people don't need cinemas to follow and know about the international film industries like Hollywood, Bollywood and other foreign movies because they already know a lot about them.

Although there is no such thing as movie theaters all around the big kingdom, still, most people love movies and watch them the whole time. And to tell you the truth, young Saudis are big fans of Hollywood productions and they are following the movies box office regularly. And some are serious movie addicts.

If you are wondering how we get access to movies, DVDs and video tapes, then I'll tell you that our resources for movies are either movie stores, which are available everywhere, or through internet websites.

I think the reason why there are no movies shown publicly here might be because most of these movies seem to carry concepts and ideas that don’t suit our cultural traditions and Islamic beliefs. Generally speaking, the Saudi society is conservative and believe in preserving its Islamic traditions and life-style from vanishing by external factors and I believe that there is nothing more important than keeping one's identity and true belonging as long as it doesn't harm anyone else.

Some people think that the government is the one who is responsible for the absence of cinema in Saudi Arabia out of its strict intolerance but this is not true. Actually, the government has nothing to interfere with citizens's own affairs and they hold a neutral side; but they prevent this thing out of fear of opposition from people and once the majority of people accepts the establishing of cinema houses, nobody will mind as long as the movies shown are modified to suit the different variety of ages.

In the meantime, the actual change has started taking place in the big cities as mini cinemas for children as well as big 3D documentary films that are presented every weekend to entertain and educate both children and adults, and consequently, I think that big cinema houses will exist in Saudi Arabia very soon.

To be accurate and even in my presentation, I run small interviews in my college where I asked many girls about their opinions of the absence of cinema here. Most of them said that although they don't see why it is not here, they don't feel that it's necessary anymore because they have other alternatives and they get used to seeing movies at home.

However, some girls insisted that it's totally unfair and there should be cinema's for them to meet with their friends and watch movies together while others said that although young people demand its existence, we must respect the ones who don't as it's not a life or death issue and they mentioned that they don't see what difference will it make whether they watch movies inside their houses or out of it. 

Lastly, I believe that such changes are going to happen as the world is now getting more and more similar every day.

Big thanks to Guest Author Fatma M - Z, for speaking up and sharing some views from Saudi Arabia!

Care to share?


  1. Interesting article. I'd lose my mind without cinemas, but then, I have no self-control. Well played.

  2. Women don't drive.