Cinema In Bahrain

November 8, 2016

The culture of watching movies in the cinema may seem like a modern one, but it dates back to the late 1800’s when the first ever motion-picture cameras were invented along with production companies and cinemas.

In Bahrain, the first attempt at creating a cinema was in 1922 by businessman Mahmood Al Sa’ati, who imported a projector and set up a makeshift cinema at a cottage on the North Coast of Manama. It wasn’t until 1937 the first official cinema was set in Manama up by Abdulla Al Zayed. Since the cinema had no air-conditioning or heating systems, it was moved to an open-roofed building during the winter season with one of the walls being used as a screen. The first movie to be screened  reportedly was Egyptian movie “Wedad” staring Umm Kulthum – one of the most popular Egyptian actresses of all time.

Initially however, the introduction of cinema received criticism by the elderly of the community who believed that it would destroy traditional values. But by the 20th century, Egyptian films became quite popular in the country.

The early introduction of films in the region were black and white and were mainly Egyptian films with some American ones too. Films such as “Tarzan” and “Cowboys and Red Indians” were among the most popular in the country at the time.

In the 1940s, a cinema was opened in the area of Awali by the Bahrain Petroleum Company for its staff but was closed down in 1991. In the 1950s and 1960s, eight new cinemas including Pearl Cinema, Al Hamra Cinema, Al Nasr Cinema and Awal Cinema opened were introduced to Bahrain.

In the region of Muharraq the cinema was introduced in 1955 and is still in use today.

Bahrain saw its first modern-style cinema in 1996 in the form of Delmon Cinema in the Gosi Complex, but is no longer in use.

The trend for modern style cinema was continued by the Bahrain Cinema Company which was behind the cinemas we still visit today in Seef Mall (1998) and Saar (2000). Another addition to Bahrain cine-verse was Dana Cinema, an independent cinema that opened up in 2002 in Dana Mall. Bahrain’s cinema scene was put on the map by becoming host to the largest cineplex in the Middle East after the construction of a 20-screen cinema complex in Bahrain City Centre.

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