A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

No ‘Kingdom’ in the emirates – but definitely in the republic

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on October 12, 2007

The Kingdom – the new, reputedly Syriana-esque movie (set in the Gulf and featuring a more nuanced portrait of live there) – is out, but not everywhere. Its been banned in Kuwait and Bahrain (all the more reason for my aunt & uncle to come to Beirut next weekend!) for a “false depiction of facts”, according to the New York Times and AFP. But the UAE and Qatar are showing the film, and Saudi Arabia, for which banning is something of a non-issue since the kingdom has no cinemas, has said nothing.

Arab News, the English-language Saudi paper, published a round-up of opinions and concluded that banning the film was “counter-productive” and that Saudis should be permitted to see how other parts of the world – in this case, the US – see them.

Meanwhile, I checked the movie listings yesterday morning and saw that The Kingdom is playing here – in the ABC mall, at least (no word on whether it will find an audience in Verdun!). It probably isn’t a great movie, but I bet its great on a lazy Eid afternoon:).

(On the other hand, Jack Shaheen, who pioneered social science research on the depiction of Arabs in Hollywood movies, is very critical. His review concludes with: In a time that calls for cultural understanding, we get crude antagonism. In a time that calls for nuance and clarity, we get dangerous simplifications and gross distortions. So … if you do see the film, think carefully about what you are seeing.)

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