Kuwait Ministry of Information Bans ‘The Kingdom’

UPI reports the Hollywood action-thriller THE KINGDOM, which was shot in Abu Dhabi, starring Jamie Foxx and Jennifer Garner has been banned in Kuwait and Bahrain. It will, however, be shown uncut in the UAE, Qatar, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Oman. [Link]

An excerpt from the article:

Kuwait and Bahrain have banned theaters from showing “The Kingdom,” a Hollywood thriller set in Saudi Arabia, Variety.com said Wednesday.The first Hollywood movie made in Abu Dhabi, “The Kingdom” is about an elite FBI team that goes to Saudi Arabia to investigate a terror attack on a U.S. compound. It is loosely based on the 1996 Khobar Towers bombings in Saudi Arabia, in which an Islamic fundamentalist cell attacked a U.S. compound, killing 19 U.S. servicemen. The movie has passed censors and will be shown uncut in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan, opening in most territories Thursday to tie in with the Eid al Fitr celebrations, the trade paper said. Kuwait is the most conservative of the Gulf countries when it comes to censoring foreign films, while Bahrain often feels pressure to do likewise from neighboring Saudi Arabia, whose cinemas have been closed for 30 years.”

16 thoughts on “Kuwait Ministry of Information Bans ‘The Kingdom’

  1. I thought after showing MUNICH in Kuwait, which detailed the Mossad’s pursuit of Palestinian terrorists, that MOI was opening a new chapter in creative tolerance.
    I was wrong.
    I do agree however that the film’s theme could be very offensive to right wing elements in Kuwait and MOI probably wants to avoid the backlash. Nevertheless, by banning the film it fuels illegal downloading and pirated copies (which I guarantee we’ll see on Kuwaiti streets during the Eid holidays).

  2. I would have been surprised if it was shown too. Kuwait tries hard to please Saudi Arabia in order to maintain the strong relationship. If you watch the movie, you’ll understand why Kuwait will never release it.
    I’ve seen the movie, and it has many political and social errors. The supposedly “Saudi” characters, speak in dialects more related to Belad al Sham. They portray a Saudi prince, as well as Saudi figures such as generals in the army, as ignorant or just plain dumb. They made many sarcastic jokes about them, and portrayed the American FBI agents as the heroes who go to Saudi Arabia to bring freedom and stop terrorists.
    The title might as well be called “Terrorists: Saudi Arabia”. It was completely and utterly biased, to the point where a child in the movie says “My daddy was killed in Saudi Arabia”.
    He couldnt have said “My daddy was killed by a bomb”? He just HAD to mention Saudi Arabia.
    Watch the movie just so that you can see how some directors or writers are biased. Lots of action as well. But be prepared to be annoyed like I was (and I’m a liberal politics aider).

  3. i saw couple of Jamie Foxx interviews on couple talk shows , and i’m shocked by his poor humor
    and what right wing elements ? we trying to make up new stuff in Kuwait ?

  4. Lady – thanks for your input, I think most hollywood movies including SYRIANA (which was a critical success) are biased, they always show the negative aspects of the Gulf and tend to focus on stereotypical aspects – when I saw that flick I realized there was nothing worse than watching a movie which thinks it is smart, but isn’t. When George Clooney talked in Arabic, in a bumbling, inconprehensible way, I just had to crack up.
    The points you mentioned about the dialect and the negative characterizations in THE KINGDOM are valid and I am sure if I saw the movie I would be annoyed as well, but I should have the right to see the movie and be annoyed, is what I am saying.
    I grew up with many offensive flicks in my time – much worse than what is onscreen nowadays: BEST DEFENCE, an Eddie Murphy embarrasment about an Iraqi invasion of Kuwait (made 7 years before the actual invasion!) – film was offensive, mocked mosque prayer calls, had bumbling Arabs riding a tank etc – others we saw included THE DELTA FORCE, the Goldie Hawn flick PROTOCOL and many others – we were portrayed as sex-starved, alcoholics, violent, list goes on.
    Forza – amigo, Jamie Foxx may come across as an arrogrant prick, but don’t tell me there aren’t extreme elements in Kuwait…you are joking right? Did you forget that other movies such DODGEBALL, FAHRENHEIT 911, PASSION OF THE CHRIST, HELLBOY, MEET THE FOCKERS, BRIDGET JONES DIARY 2, DA VINCI CODE and *many* other flicks got banned as well.
    I remember last year MEMORIES OF A GEISHA was pulled from theatres after 3 days because some customer complained to MOI that geishas were ‘like prostitutes.’
    *And* great Kuwaiti filmmakers such as Amer Zuhair (WHEN THE PEOPLE SPOKE I and II) get their films banned from the MOI as well.

  5. I was just gonna say that this will encourage pirates, and publicity for the movie! More people will want to know why they are not allowed to see it. According to the trailer (and without reading any synopsis or anything), I knew that it was just an action movie that had to do with Arabs and the US government. I don’t think at all that it was going to be smart.
    P.S. There are no cinemas in Saudi Arabia?!!

  6. Why the ban? I don’t understand! I’ve watched the movie and found it really very interesting. Plus, an outstanding job was done in this movie since it was filmed in Abu Dhabi in place of Riyadh. It’s really an amazing movie. I’m probably watching it again.

  7. Hi,
    I’m writing a story for Arab News in Jeddah, saudi Arabia, about the banning of “The Kingdom” and would like to quote what you wrote here in my article.
    Please email me ASAP if this is okay at: rasheed@arabnews.com, as I am on deadline.
    Could you please also tell me your age and gender. Thanks!
    Cheers,
    Rasheed Abou-Alsamh

  8. the linking of extreme elements in Kuwait with movie banning is what i don’t agree with
    first of all you called them right wing , there isn’t anything like that in Kuwait , you can’t use the same expression to describe politics in USA and Import it to Kuwait , we don’t have conservatives as they have in the USA or UK
    Second the movies getting banned isn’t by extreme elements in Kuwait
    just stop and ask your self , why an extremest would try and stop FAHRENHEIT 911 from showing ? they have no reason
    The problem lay with the mentality ” the Door that you get wind from , shut it off ” that most people in Kuwait operate on , some people abusing the usage of government land next to their houses ? BAN gardens, movies that have a slight chance of offending anyone ? BAN the movie
    oh and BEST DEFENSE was banned in Kuwait.

  9. “the linking of extreme elements in Kuwait with movie banning is what i don’t agree with
    first of all you called them right wing , there isn’t anything like that in Kuwait , you can’t use the same expression to describe politics in USA and Import it to Kuwait , we don’t have conservatives as they have in the USA or UK ”
    Wrong, I am not talking about ‘Conservatives’ (as in Republicans) -I said ‘right wing’ — the Ministry of Information is afraid of right wing Islamic elements, by right wing, I mean vociferous, outspoken members of Parliament and beyond who will demand a movie be cut/banned etc, demand a tv series, books, etc be banned – and there are right wing elements in Kuwait – the term right wing is not monopolized by the ‘conservatives in the US’ my friend. The term right wing can apply to Islamists, Monarchists, Nationalists etc, its meaning may vary slightly according to the sect it represents but by and large it means the following: “the rightist division of a group or party” (feel free to look up any dictionary).
    Your comment “The problem lay with the mentality ” the Door that you get wind from , shut it off ” that most people in Kuwait operate on , some people abusing the usage of government land next to their houses ? BAN gardens, movies that have a slight chance of offending anyone ? BAN the movie”
    This I agree with, but its tied to fear. PASSION OF THE CHRIST and DA VINCI CODE were banned because the MOI did not want to offend Islamists who did not believe 1. Jesus Christ should be portrayed onscreen and 2. did not want to go along with DA VINCI’s fantasy that Jesus Christ fathered children. HELLBOY was banned because it portrayed a ‘character from hell’ (even though it was a comic-book fantasy, not to be taken seriously).
    15 years ago the above films would have been shown in Kuwait. In today’s tension-filled, conservative atmosphere they cannot.
    “oh and BEST DEFENSE was banned in Kuwait”.
    I never said it wasn’t. I didn’t grow up in Kuwait – I watched those films in the West. In the 1980s in Kuwait most films in theaters were low-budget Asian knock-offs with the *occasional* Hollywood blockbuster (i.e. MAD MAX 2, RAMBO II).
    In any case, Forzaq, we choose to disagree but I love the fact that you and others are commenting here and I welcome it. I love a good discussion.

  10. well, to be honest I don’t care much for KSA, I was treated like shit the only time I had to pass by their borders, 24 hour transit, because I had an iron maiden CD (was made by stallions in saudi arabia itself) that cop made the workers search all of my bags, brought dogs to smell them all over and his saliva was all over my stuff, that I either threw the next day or tried to save from his garaf!!
    what kind of country is that? and after all when they found nothing, they did not even apology, nas zbala ya sheikh! sorry for generalizing but also all saudis I met in life in Kuwait, Lebanon, Jordan or Syria are not nice in general except for few in Jordan.
    the ones who visit lebanon, syria and jordan are mostly there for the alcohol, sex and all. the ones who come over to kuwait are the ones who can’t afford going anywhere else, so they drive by car…
    sorry for being racial again! that’s just my point of view

  11. “…well, to be honest I don’t care much for KSA….what kind of country is that? sorry for generalizing but also all saudis I met in life in Kuwait, Lebanon, Jordan or Syria are not nice in general except for few in Jordan….the ones who visit lebanon, syria and jordan are mostly there for the alcohol, sex and all. the ones who come over to kuwait are the ones who can’t afford going anywhere else, so they drive by car…sorry for being racial again! that’s just my point of view”
    Highly incendiary statements.
    We are here to discuss censorship/banning of creative material not to lambast the Arab people.
    You may not want to come off as a racist, but you do.

  12. well, I try not to be so racial, but incidents in life force me to do. I was never treated good by saudis, when I went that time, my piercings were off, my hair was short and my beard was short too. was wearing trousers and a tshirt, not shorts or anything else. ya3ni I tried to be the less offensive according to their standards, also they wouldn’t care they can watch it in Bahrain, unless they also banned the movie, then piracy will have a big share of that. I’m personally going to watch it in amman next weekend.

Comments are closed.