Saudi Aradia Lifts 35 Year Cinema Ban

We recently told you Saudi  Arabia will soon allow women to drive. Now the country has officially  lifted a 35-year cinema ban by screening its first film in decades. “The  Emoji Movie” was played in temporary settings, like state-run cultural  halls, making it the first movie viewed in the country in years.

The ban was put in place in the 1980’s as a push towards a more  conservative and religious society that discouraged public entertainment  and public mixing between men and women. Reforms by their young Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have eased restrictions like these, in an effort to be less dependent on oil.

Mamdouh Salim has been organizing the week long  screenings which also included showings of “Captain Underpants: The  First Epic Movie.” She says, “until now, there is no infrastructure for  movie theater, so we are trying to take advantage of [alternative]  venues.” There are plans to build over 300 cinemas by 2030, with the  first few opening this spring.

Source: Indiewire