For the first time in 35 years, a film will be shown in Saudi Arabia. It is getting started with the film Black Panther.
Why has Saudi Arabia changed its decision after having banned movies for so many years?
This decision of Saudi Arabia is only part of the change in society.
In the 20th century, al-Saud dynasty of Saudi Arabia relied on two sources of power. One was the treasure of oil and the other conservative religious leaders.
But now the country has to be molded according to the 21st Century, where oil is not enough to deal with government spending and bring jobs. Where the influence of religious leaders has also diminished, which was very good in the royal family first.
Like many Middle Eastern countries, Saudi Arabia’s large population is also young. The population of about 30 million is below 30 years of age.
Saudi society is changing like this
King Salman made his youngest son Mohammed bin Salman a Crown Prince, who is 32 years old. It was in a way decided by this young population.
But Mohammed bin Salman has a difficult responsibility.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
Under his rule, the economy of Saudi Arabia is changing, where dependence on oil will be reduced and due to which the life expectancy of young citizens will not be as it was earlier generations.
They will not get government jobs and they have to work harder in the private sector.
Home prices have already been a major problem, with this, privatization of health and education is also being done.
Western analysts believed that Saudi Arabia would have to reduce the economic aid given to its people one day and because of this, demand for more political rights would be increased.
But Mohammad bin Salman has another model.
They say, “Work harder, entertain the system rather than criticize.”
Like Dubai, they are giving more social freedom rather than giving more political freedom.
Cinema is also a part of it.
Do Saudi Arabians want openness?
Officials of Saudi Arabia say that for years people have been conservative, but now it seems that the society here is open, energetic, and technology-like.
There is also considerable variety in people’s social behavior.
In such a large country people are spread in different areas whose experience and earnings are very different.
More than one million Saudi people have studied abroad and the rest are still immersed in traditional living conditions.
The situation of women is very different according to studies, roaming and working, because in these cases men in their household decide for them.
Now that the government has removed the restrictions on women’s driving and has been promoting more restricted films-concert over the years, then the pace of change and the culture of the country are being debated.
Especially when it comes to women’s rights.
Saudi people are already watching movies
As far as the movies are concerned, the bay on the cinema after the technology came, was absurd.
According to a 2014 survey, two-thirds of internet users in Saudi Arabia see a movie online every week. 9 out of 10 people have smartphones.
Even people get cheap flights to Bahrain or Dubai to watch the movie.
There is also facility for watching films in Saudi Arabia’s official airline Saudi Airways. However, according to the objectionable things such as open arms or wine images are ‘blurred’.
Saudi film Vajda gets awards in Kansas
There, films are shown on the pop screen in the film festivals.
Some people have even made films such as Barkah Meets Barkah and Vajda, which also got the award in Cannes.
According to the estimates of a government organization, Saudi people spent 30 billion dollars in entertainment and hospitality just in the Middle East in 2017.
This amount is close to 5 percent of Saudi GDP.
Economic benefits from cinema
When the oil is low and the economy of the country is finding alternatives in new areas, then there will be a matter of opening the entertainment sector and that money can be used to make jobs.
Saudi Arabia’s first film is opening with the government’s own money, which is called the public investment fund. The government has partnered with the international company AMC.
The government is not only allowing the cinema but it is expected that it will also have financial benefits.
Instead of asking ‘why now’, the question should be asked why the decision was so late.
But the ban was not according to the opinion of the public only. This conservative policy was to appease the influential religious leaders.
Because of this, religious leaders continued to share knowledge of the ruler’s obedience to the people, to increase their influence on the social life of the people and in turn, the law of the house remained in force.
But now the political and social role of these religious leaders is changing.
There are still religious leaders appointed by the government who keep spreading their conservative views but disagree with the decisions of political leaders.
Saudi Arabia will spend billions of dollars on entertainment
Women will now be in Saudi Arabia
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In 2017 Mufti of Saudi Arabia said that cinema would be showing shameful and unethical things and Moving to the cinema will increase men’s and women’s friendship.
There was a debate for this once but now there is no debate.
From the establishment of Saudi Arabia, religious leaders used to make votes that helped to ensure a social consensus.
But one of his such influences also meant that if he disagreed, a large part of the public would also be with him.
Today’s rule thinks that a very influential religious guru can become a threat to politics.
The government is now indicating that their powers and influence will be less than expected.
That’s why these cinemas also show how deep political, economic and social change are coming out through entertainment