Catch a movie in Saudi Arabia for the first time in 35 years

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So the sticky stuff on the floors are a least 35 years old. Nice.

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I’m good, thanks but no thanks.



Sounds like a great place to live, huh?

Kind of like the end of Napster then. Give them something legal, and the illegal just loses its luster.

They plan to play nothing but Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace for the first month. From there they can expect theater goers to torch all the theaters and thank their rulers for previously banning them, returning everything to normal.


Boy, they’re really modernising. Welcome to the 20th century, Saudis!


Will they have drive-ins?

The first movie to be approved by the censors and shown in movie theaters will be The Emoji Movie.
No doubt.

The way Saudis drive, you had better hope not.

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Don’t expect too much too soon. I watched films in the hotel in Riyadh when I was there. Bits were lopped out of every film. I remember Gandhi was half an hour shorter that the western version - although it was shown, as most were, in English. The passage “Bring this child up to be a moslem” was skipped completely.

I don´t think they will pick this movie for the opening night.


Would it be legal in Saudi Arabia to yell “Unaccompanied Adult Female!” in a crowded theater?


Probably also pragmatic in terms of “content filtering”.

So long as it’s all clandestine, the tools and knowledge required to score movies are given a dose of respectability: even straight-laced moralists have G-rated stuff they want to watch, so someone who knows how to obtain thing from the piratical byways of the intertubes is both useful and not presumptively depraved(even if they mostly use it to download Violence Sex Slash 3, they don’t have to tell their conservative relatives that).

If decent, wholesome, fare is easily available on the open market, that makes knowing how to score pirate stuff look dodgier. Maybe you are just a cheapskate or fan of some obscure foreign soccer team; but what exactly do you need to go to the underground for, hmm?

Pretty much the same mechanism as in purely commercially motivated contexts(eg. Piracy becoming more or less respectable and popular in whatever region is stuck getting that hit TV series months late because of obscure copyright fuckery). Piracy tools are suitable for pretty much any application (with the possible exception of kiddie porn, which is both widely disliked and subject to much harsher scrutiny in most jurisdictions); so unless you can provide enough of what people want to encourage a “why would you need that?” attitude, odds are excellent that the tools will become widely available and reasonably respectable; which provides cover for a wide variety of uses.

This reminds me of my dad.

About 15 years ago my dad had gone to Saudi Arabia on a contract assignment to oversee some projects related to some industrial installations. He was there about like 6 months and he had nothing to do because he wasn’t allowed to go out and about much on his own, he spent most of his time buying stacks and stacks of cheap copied movies and watching them in his hotel room.

This change is a good thing for sure but i’m curious to see what restrictions they’ll have for whats allowed or not.

Meh, not really interested in the goings on of misogynistic, hyper rich, terrorist funding people who get their social queues from the early medieval period. They can take their dividing walls and shove them up their regressive pie holes. Our continued relationship with Saudi Arabia is an embarrassment I would see ended.

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What about™ the people that do not agree with the regime? Shouldn’t we be happy with every little bit of progress that makes their lives better?


Ah “what about”. It’s nice to see that old Pravda gem being used so often these days. Superficial ‘progress’ like a movie theater brings to mind the colosseum. “The repressive regime continues unabated but hey, they get to see a movie” rings hollow to my ears.