The new digital and social media to discover Arabia and the Middle East. Offbeat. Innovative.

Saudi Arabia: Chadwick Boseman’s death leaves an even more bitter taste

The death of the American actor shook the whole world. Tragic, but also unexpected, given the age of the deceased (42 years old), it occurred last week, after long months during which Chadwick Boseman had struggled with his disease. If, all over the world, tributes bloom like so many chrysanthemums, in Saudi Arabia, this death leaves a particularly bitter taste in the mouth...

For those who would not have followed, cinemas in Saudi Arabia were banned for 35 years. Of course, the inhabitants of the kingdom had access to the same library as elsewhere in the world, thanks to television, DVDs, etc.. But anyone who has ever set foot in a movie theater can testify to the special atmosphere of the place, the echo that the setting can give to the film, and the impact it leaves on the viewer.

No wonder, then, that the Saudis still hold and cherish an imperishable memory of the reopening of cinemas in the kingdom in 2018. Unfortunately, and this is quite normal, they associate this memory with the film that was shown at the time. The first for 35 years. And that film was Black Panther.


A major cultural turning point

Saddened on the one hand by the death of a great actor whose fame is still rising (despite many projects, it is his role as T’challa, Prince of Wakanda in the Marvel universe, which propels his career through the stratosphere), and because he embodies this turning point, this step forward in Saudi society, fans are inconsolable. One of them wrote on twitter: “Black Panther” had the honor of being the first film to be officially screened in Saudi Arabia after the lifting of a 35-year ban on public cinemas. It will always be remembered for its cultural impact and the joy it brought to people around the world”.

The country is not the only one whose sentence seems to have increased tenfold. In South Africa, the film holds the record for the number of admissions. Fundraisers have even been organized in the country so that the most disadvantaged children can go and see it.

Chadwick Boseman died of colon cancer diagnosed in 2016.