New IMAX Film Focuses On Saudi Arabia

by Rick Howlett on May 26, 2010

By Rick Howlett

Several members of the Saudi Royal Family are in Louisville Wednesday for the local premiere of a new IMAX film.

Arabia is a travelogue that also attempts to demystify the Saudi kingdom to outsiders.

Film consultant and author Robert Lacey says it’s a nation in a tug-of-war between religious fundamentalists and those who want to open its doors to the Western world.

“It’s the first-ever movie made entirely in Saudi Arabia. Now there are no movie houses in Saudi Arabia to watch it in, because the religious establishment doesn’t like the idea of men and women gathering in a dark cinema together, and maybe not entirely concentrating on the film. So there’s a long way to go there,” he said.

Lacey says the film includes some of the first-ever footage of an ancient city carved from sandstone cliff that the Saudis, until recently, have kept from public view.

There’s also an IMAX view of millions of Muslim pilgrims arriving in the holy city of Mecca. Arabia opens to the public June 12 at the Louisville Science Center.

(Photo Design Courtesy of MacGillivray Freeman Films)

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