It was only a couple of months ago when we heard about Saudi Arabia opening their first public cinema in years. And now we hear that Syrian-American director Moustafa Akkad’s epic film about Prophet Mohammed (peace by upon him) titled The Message will be screened in the Kingdom on Eidul Fitr after four decades of ban.
“Knowing that there were so many difficulties. Now that they’re showing it in the theatres I couldn’t be happier,” said Akkad’s son. The classic film, which was made both in English and Arabic with separate casts has never earlier been publicly shown in Saudi Arabia. The English version starred the iconic Anthony Quinn, Irene Papas Michael Ansara, while in Arabic, Abdullah Gaith, Muna Wassef, and Hamdi Gaith took the lead.
The Message has been a widely watched film in the Arab world since its release. However, it was banned and boycotted by conservatives for its depiction of the Prophet (peace by upon him) and his companions.
Saudi Arabia lifted a longstanding ban on cinemas last year and the theatres will now screen a restored version of the 1976 epic, produced from the film’s original negatives. Profits from the screenings will support the filmmakers from the region as part of a scholarship fund to study at the University of Southern California, also Moustafa Akkad’s alma mater.
Here’s the trailer of The Message: