A Saudi Filmmaker’s Childhood Hajj Pilgrimages Influence His Latest Film

A Saudi Filmmaker’s Childhood Hajj Pilgrimages Influence His Latest Film

A Saudi Filmmaker's Childhood Hajj Pilgrimages Influence His Latest Film

When Mujtaba Saeed was a little boy, he formed a close friendship with the holy city of Makkah.

On a pilgrimage to the holy city, he reminisces of family trips to the bustling city,

surrounded by people of various ethnicities and nations.

Childhood road journeys over Saudi Arabia’s multi-toned dunes are

depicted as buses carrying people from all walks of life, repeating the same prayer in unison.

When Saeed was a kid, he would look forward to the long road trips from his hometown of Saihat in Pakistan’s Eastern

Province to the Hijaz region in the country’s western portion.


He’s currently working on a script that leans significantly on his personal history with Jerusalem,

which he had a strong connection to before moving to Germany as an adult to pursue further study.

“I didn’t go back to Makkah for a while after that,” he recalled, “but the memories stayed.”

In my opinion, these recollections raise issues concerning the passage of time,

the nature of the human connection, and the act of travel.


For any Saudi, Makkah holds a special place in their hearts.

According to him, many individuals and families use the city as a pilgrimage destination throughout their lives.

For him,

Makkah is a location packed with memories and feelings.

“I guess I grew up with these visuals and they’re full of emotions,” he said.

A combination of his feelings and memories of visiting the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia

served as the inspiration for his latest screenplay.

But he is determined to tell its tale

not only to Saudi Arabians but to the rest of the world as well.

The responsibility for engaging and integrating with other cultures is on everyone,

he said Both Makkah and Berlin play a significant role in the story,

which is based on Saeed’s actual experiences.


Pilgrims to Makkah and tourists and students to Berlin may have many distinctions,

but they also share the same ephemeral nature, with a constant in-and-out flow of people.

Saeed said the characters’ hunt for answers produces drama’s basic conflict.

He said he wants to contrast “old civilization” values with current, globalized ones in the script.

More significantly, it evaluates whether varied groups with unique backgrounds can cohabit safely.

“This equation occurs in Makkah, Despite this, the issue remains:

“How can you magnify other voices in that situation?”

For him, it is his duty as an artist to raise the voices of those who are often ignored.

As the Kingdom’s arts and entertainment sector continues to flourish,

he sees an opportune chance to make Saudi Arabia a regional center for cinema,

filmmaking, and other types of cultural interchange in the burgeoning Saudi cinema.

Saudi Cinema

During this period of national rejuvenation, where we are giving voice to Saudi cinema,

we need more collaborative efforts with Europe, India, or other countries, Saeed said,

in addition to the work that the Saudi film commission performs to develop regulated works.

For me, I believe that cinema will soon become our universal language.

Riyadh’s European Film Festival is essential, and I think it’s crucial to exhibit a wide range of cinematic offerings.

The first European Film Festival (EFF) took place

from June 15 to 22 and was aimed at promoting European cinema and

encouraging filmmakers in Europe and Saudi Arabia to establish contacts.

This, in Saeed’s opinion,

was critical in bridging cultural divides and fostering continued contact.

“Gharaq,” which means “Drowning” in Arabic, is one of Saeed’s other current projects.

In June, it earned the Saudi Arabian Film Festival’s Best Feature Script Award.A Saudi Filmmaker’s Childhood

Saudi-German Effort

“A person can’t be free unless he forgives,” Saeed said of the film’s

exploration of the tension between forgiveness and revenge.

Filming is scheduled to begin in the east

of the Kingdom in preparation for the film’s production.

He has high hopes that it will be a joint Saudi-German effort.

“Zawal,” Saeed’s 2021 short film, won the Saudi Film Festival’s Golden Palm Award for Best Short Film

and the Gulf Radio and Television Festival’s Golden Sail Award from June 21 to 23 in Bahrain.

During a mysterious pandemic outbreak, A Saudi Filmmaker’s Childhood

an 8-year-old kid and

his mother is forced to live in a quarantined refugee camp.

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