In accordance with its Dark Ages policies aimed at controlling its citizens, Saudi Arabia has banned movie theaters since the early 1980s. But that doesn't mean they can't have a film festival! (Actually, OK, it should mean that. But here we are anyway.) Variety reported last week that an as-yet-untitled fest will begin on May 20 in Riyadh, with a program of shorts and documentaries from Arab countries filling out the schedule. A prize called the Palm will go to the best ones.

The Saudi Society of Arts and Culture and the Dammam Literary Group are the organizers; the latter group, which is government-sponsored, has recently held small, private film screenings (with the audiences segregated by gender, of course), leading many to speculate that the ban on movies is slowly lifting. The film festival may be another step in that process. (That's S.A.'s King Abdullah in the pic, by the way. Whassup, Abdullah!)
categories Cinematical