King of the Sands
This article needs additional citations for verification. (April 2014) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
|King of the Sands|
|Directed by||Najdat Anzour|
|Starring||Fabio Testi, Bill Fellows and Marco Foschi|
King of the Sands is presented as a "landmark taboo-breaking film", depicting a "dichotomous" story. It presents an impoverished prince in exile who reconquers his ancestral lands (Najd), and continues to expand his dominion until he controls the better part of the Arabian Peninsula. This accomplishment demanded "single-minded ruthlessness". He exterminated the rivaling Emirs of Ha'il. He later massacred his own shock troops, the Ikhwan (an irregular militia recruited from the main nomadic tribes), when they became a liability in the late 1920s and early 1930s. They had threatened the king’s relations with the British in Jordan and Iraq. This film also depicts Western imperialism as impinging on the monarch's independence, foreshadowing the kingdom's future entanglement in world affairs once the oil started to flow.
The film is controversial. The founder of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia draws criticism by the Saudi royal family and some of the family's allies in the western countries.
Najdat Anzour who directed the film is the son of the Syrian pioneer of Arab cinema, Ismail Anzour. Although Najdat's reputation rest primarily on the production of epic TV series about important episodes in Islamic and Middle Eastern history, he is also known for controversial political topics. His latest, King of the Sands, falls into that category.
Saudi Arabia’s authorities have reacted strongly to the film. Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, son of Abdul Azia al Saud and a senior member of the Saudi royal family, has described the film as a great disrespect to the kingdom’s founder. He said that “We have already made contacts with President Bashar al-Assad via a mutual friend to bring the screening of the movie to an end in the Arab country”. He also described Najdat Anzour as director of “Jihad al-Nikah” or “sexual jihad”.
Anzour said he has received death threats over the film.
On December 20, 2013, Syrian movie director Najdat Anzour said he holds the Saudi government responsible for any harm that might come to him and his staff who joined him in the making of King of the Sands, a movie critical of Saudi Arabia.
After the movie was screened in Damascus, a Saudi cleric, Adnan al-Ayed issued a fatwa authorizing the killing of Anzour as "condonable and necessary". The preacher is said to have justified his fatwa by claiming that the director, Najdat Anzour, has insulted Islam by attacking the kingdom’s founder through his film.
Although cinema is a red line in the modern Saudi Arabia itself, Saudi Royal authorities have attempted to ban the King of the Sands movie from screening in other countries. The film has been shown in Damascus, despite attempts from a Saudi officials to have it banned in Syria. There is no report about public show of the movie in any other countries but a mixed reports about a private screening in London, Britain.
- "Reuters Archive Licensing". Reuters Archive Licensing. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
- Nehad Ismail (16 September 2013). "King of the Sands". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 27 December 2014.
- "Wahhabi terrorism traced in 'King of the Sands': Director Anzour". Alalam. 17 December 2013. Retrieved 27 December 2014.
- "Film taking aim at Saudi monarchy opens in Syria". news.yahoo.com.
- "Abigmessage.com". www.abigmessage.com.
- "Najdat Anzour Holds Saudi Responsible for Any Harm to Him".
- Mansour, Haifaa Al. "Why is cinema a red line issue in Saudi Arabia?". CNN.
- Spencer, Richard (May 15, 2016). "Could Saudi Arabians soon be allowed to go to the cinema?" – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
- "Syrian biopic angers Saudi royals". December 16, 2013 – via www.bbc.com.
- "King of the Sands: If this isn't the worst film ever it's damn close". September 12, 2013.