Distributors say it’s a “truly monumental occasion.”
It was only a couple of months ago that Saudi Arabia’s first public cinema opened, and now there’s some more major film news coming out of the kingdom.
This Eid Al Fitr weekend, Moustapha Akkad’s 1977 film The Message will screen in Saudi Arabia’s cinemas.
The classic film, which was made in English and Arabic with entirely separate casts, has never been publicly shown in the kingdom. The English version stars Anthony Quinn, Irene Papas, Michael Ansara, while in Arabic, Abdullah Gaith, Muna Wassef, and Hamdi Gaith took the lead.
It follows the life of the Prophet Muhammad (peace by upon him) by focusing on characters around him — the prophet himself is never depicted.
Gianluca Chakra, of distributors Front Row Films, told The National he was very pleased that Saudi censors had passed the film.
“We’re delighted that the film has been passed for screening in Saudi Arabia. This film is a vitally important part of the region’s history and culture, and to finally see it screening in Saudi Arabia is the culmination of a dream, and testament to the belief we’ve always had in this vital piece of cinema history.
“We’re thrilled and honoured to have been able to play our part in this journey.”
The Message will screen in a restored 4K version in Saudi Cinemas on June 14. You can watch a trailer for it here:
We’re thinking this will be a pretty memorable occasion for Saudi film buffs.
Images: Front Row Cinema/Instagram