CINEMA: TABOO-BREAKING ‘GIRLS OF RIYADH’ MAY HIT BIG SCREEN
Beirut (AKI) — ‘The Girls of Riyadh’ a novel whose themes including sex outside marriage have stirred scandal in the Arab world may soon air as a television series. The book’s Saudi-born author Raja as-Sani is negotiating a deal with a Lebanese television channel for a film adapton of the book, entitled ‘Banat Riydh’, in Arabic.
The 25-year-old as-Sani, a trained orthodontist, has been repeatedly accused by conservative critics of casting Saudi women in a bad light since her book was first published in Lebanon in 2005.
“The book is one written by a young Saudi woman who shares her thoughts and convictions. All the themes are drawn from the environment in which I live,” as-Sani has said defending her work in an interview.
According to a report on Thursday on the satellite channel al-Arabiya, as-Sani is seeking to sell the film rights to an undisclosed TV Lebanese channel for one million dollars. She is also negotiating to write the screenplay, the report said.
Local sources have tokd Adnkronos International (AKI) that the likely buyer of the film rights is the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation (LBC), a TV channel linked to the Saudi-Lebanese Prince Walid ben Talal.
Italian news agency AKI carries this report on the possibility that the novel Girls of Riyadh (available in English translation next spring) will make its way to film! With the controversy that the book has already raised in Saudi Arabia, broadasting the film will cause even more uproar. If nothing else, this is a good indication that Arab satellite TV channels are truly performing as ‘agents of change’ within the region.