Cinema of Bahrain
Bahrain film clapperboard.svg
No. of screens44 (2009)[1]
 • Per capita4.0 per 100,000 (2009)[1]
Number of admissions (2009)[2]
Total2,184,612

The cinema of Bahrain is small as its lacks support from the government and the private sector. There are many short films produced by individual filmmakers, and about five feature films in Bahrain's history.

There are a number of theaters in Bahrain showing a mix of Indian, American and Arabic movies. Bahrain also has a cinema club established in 1980, and the Bahraini Film Production Company, established in 2006 to support the Bahraini film industry.

History

The first attempt to create a movie theater in Bahrain was in 1922, on the initiative of Bahraini businessman Mahmood Al Saati. He imported a projector and set up a makeshift cinema at a cottage on the north coast of Manama.[3] The first official cinema was established by Abdulla Al Zayed and associates in Manama, in 1937.[3] The cinema had no air-conditioning or heating system so the cinema was moved to an open-roofed building during the winter season with one of the walls being used as a screen.[3] In 1939, the founder of Saudi Arabia, King Abdul Aziz Al Saud, visited the cinema while on a diplomatic visit with the then-Hakim Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifa.[3]

During the 1930s and 1940s, films were in black and white with the majority of them being predominately Egyptian as well as some American films. Westerns and the Tarzan films were reported to have been very popular in the country.[3] Initially, the introduction of cinemas drew criticism from elderly citizens who stated that it "would destroy traditional values".[4]

During the pan-Arab era of the 20th century, Egyptian films enjoyed immense popularity in the country.[3]

Establishment of cinemas

In the early 1940s, the Bahrain Petroleum Company opened a cinema in Awali for its staff. The cinema moved to a different building in Awali in 1958, but finally closed in 1991.[5]

In the 1950s and 1960s, eight new cinemas opened in Bahrain, including the Pearl Cinema, Al Hamra Cinema, Al Nasr Cinema and Awal Cinema, all of which were established in Manama.[5] The first cinema to open in Muharraq was Al Jazira Cinema in 1955 and it is still in use today.[3][5]

The first modern-style cinema to open in Bahrain was the Delmon Cinema at the Gosi Complex in 1996, but it has since closed.[3][5] The trend for modern-style cinemas was continued by the Bahrain Cinema Company, which opened cinema complexes at Seef Mall in 1998 and in Saar in 2000 respectively.[3][5] An independent cinema, Dana Cinema, was opened at the Dana Mall in Manama, in 2002.[5] A 20-screen cinema complex was constructed in the Bahrain City Centre, the largest such cineplex in the Middle East.[5][6] In July 2015, the country's first IMAX theatre was opened in Seef Mall Muharraq under Novo Cinema.[7] Other cinema companies entered the Bahraini market in the 2010s, such as Mexican company Cinepolis in January 2019.[8]

Films shot in Bahrain

Bahrain filmmakers

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Table 8: Cinema Infrastructure - Capacity". UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Archived from the original on 24 December 2018. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
  2. ^ "Table 11: Exhibition - Admissions & Gross Box Office (GBO)". UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Archived from the original on 25 December 2018. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Torr, Rebecca (5 July 2005). "Book focuses on history of Bahrain's cinemas..." Gulf Daily News. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  4. ^ Charles Belgrave, an adviser to the Bahraini government at the time, wrote in his memoirs that the older Bahraini population opposed the cinema because "they thought that young people would gamble and steal to raise money for a cinema ticket".
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "Bahrain Cinema History". Bahrain CINECO. Archived from the original on 4 October 2013. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  6. ^ "Bahrain City Centre opens for business". AMEinfo. Archived from the original on 4 November 2010. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
  7. ^ "New IMAX cinema set to open in Bahrain". Trade Arabia. 28 July 2015. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  8. ^ "Mexican cinema chain opens first theatre in Bahrain". Trade Arabia. 31 January 2019. Retrieved 16 September 2019.
  9. ^ "First Indian feature film from Bahrain". gdnonline.com.
  10. ^ "Bits of What I Have". IMDb. Retrieved 29 November 2015.