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Shams alma’arif, the book of the sun, embodies the revival of Saudi cinema.

It's not just the cinemas that have reopened in Saudi Arabia, it's the whole industry that has started a great creative process. And in the midst of this swarm, two men are stepping out of the fray: the Godus brothers, Faris, director, and Sohayb, producer and actor, and their latest film has just been released!

We can say without taking too many risks that “Shams alma’arif”, in French “Le livre du soleil”, embodies this period of renewal that Saudi cinema is going through. In this “character film”, as the lead actor Baara Alem readily describes it, we follow the story of Husam, a young high school student with a passion for filmmaking. He and his best friend Maan are struggling to get their YouTube channel going. They decide to film content at school and get caught by their physics teacher. The latter, played by Sohayb Godus, accessory producer of the film, joins them in their creative adventure for adventures to be discovered in the film.

 

 

A personal and universal film at the same time

Previewed in Riyadh a few days ago (the screening was supposed to take place during the first edition of the much-anticipated Red Sea Film Festival, but the coronavirus decided otherwise), the film’s central theme is the passage to adulthood, making it possible and even probable that the characters of the film will be identified with the youth of the country, the region, and elsewhere. Director Faris Godus, who also wrote the screenplay, stressed the extent to which the film was based on his personal experience: “It’s a story that is very close to our hearts. It’s very personal for everyone who worked on it, because it’s based largely on our own history. I hope that everyone who sees it will realise the importance of supporting the arts”.

 

 

A new deal in cinema

Asked by Arab News how he felt about the current state of cinema in Saudi Arabia, Sohayb Godus replied: “In Saudi Arabia, we have a lot of material around which we can create content and so many stories to tell. I think the support from our country today is just great. People have so many opportunities to create films now!”