Saudi film fans have last laugh as ‘Joker’ premieres in Jeddah

Saudi fans of the comic-book villain buzzed with excitement as they gathered for Tuesday night’s screening of director Todd Phillips’ new film at Vox Cinemas in the Red Sea Mall. (Photo courtesy: Vox cinemas KSA)
Updated 06 October 2019

Saudi film fans have last laugh as ‘Joker’ premieres in Jeddah

  • Saudi fans of the comic-book villain buzzed with excitement as they gathered for Tuesday night’s screening of director Todd Phillips’ new film
  • Moviegoers young and old flocked to see the gritty character study of Arthur Fleck, the mysterious Joker, a man disregarded by society

JEDDAH: With a black carpet rolled out for guests, Gotham City came to Jeddah for the highly anticipated movie premiere of “Joker.”
Saudi fans of the comic-book villain buzzed with excitement as they gathered for Tuesday night’s screening of director Todd Phillips’ new film at Vox Cinemas in the Red Sea Mall.
Moviegoers young and old flocked to see the gritty character study of Arthur Fleck, the mysterious Joker, a man disregarded by society.
Forever alone in a crowd, failed comedian Fleck (played by Joaquin Phoenix) seeks connection as he walks the streets of Gotham City. He wears two masks, the one he paints for his day job as a clown, and the guise he projects in a futile attempt to feel like he is part of the world around him.
Isolated, bullied and dismissed by society, Fleck begins a slow descent into madness as he transforms into the criminal mastermind known as the Joker, Batman’s arch enemy.
“Joker,” co-produced by Bradley Cooper and Emma Tillinger, stars other big-name actors alongside Phoenix including Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz and Frances Conroy.
As fans in Jeddah waited for the movie to start, they got into the spirit of the occasion by taking selfies wearing Joker T-shirts, with one film buff sporting a handmade Joker mask.
They also took it in turns to imitate the infamous Joker’s laugh, and some members of the audience continued to laugh along with him during the movie itself.
The film began by taking viewers to a makeup room where Fleck is seen stretching his mouth with his fingers in a forced smile.
“No one is born evil, just like Arthur Fleck. This movie shows how significant everyone’s stories are in making them who they are. It’s a must watch,” said Fadi Shahid.
Eerie and dark, despite the abundance of so-called jokes, the story and cinematography were depicted as sad, unpredictable and very disturbing, according to one Jeddah cinema enthusiast, Rsha Khan.
“I didn’t expect to like the movie, as my friends and I see Heath Ledger as the one and only Joker, but Phoenix’s acting and portrayal of the character was amazing.”
The story connected the audience to the Joker, developing a love-hate relationship with sides of his character not seen in previous movies.
Despite strong reviews from fans, including raves for Phoenix, the film has been met with skepticism in some quarters. However, the Saudi audience gasped, laughed and applauded as Phoenix blew new life into Batman’s rival.
Khan added: “I would love to watch this Joker against Batman; I feel like that is definitely something I want to see.” 
The film had viewers on the edge of their seats throughout its two-hour duration and Samia Sheikh said: “It was such a bold and dark movie; still it was beautiful. I really liked that they showed the Joker’s real feelings behind his terrifying personality, which was sad to watch. The whole movie was an emotional roller coaster.”
She also praised Phoenix for his performance in the role of Fleck and said she would recommend the movie to anyone.


Environmentally conscious Coldplay says it won’t tour new album, ahead of Jordan gigs

Updated 21 November 2019

Environmentally conscious Coldplay says it won’t tour new album, ahead of Jordan gigs

  • Chris Martin: We’re not touring this album. We’re taking time over the next year or two to work out how our tour (can not only) be sustainable but how can it be actively beneficial
  • Coldplay will perform two shows in Jordan on Friday to mark the album Everyday Life’s release

LONDON: British band Coldplay will not tour to promote their new album, but are working on how to make their gigs environmentally sustainable, lead singer Chris Martin said.
The rock group, known for songs like “Yellow,” “Paradise” and “Viva la Vida,” will release their eighth studio album “Everyday Life” on Friday. The 52-minute record is made up of two halves, “Sunrise” and “Sunset.”
“We’re not touring this album. We’re taking time over the next year or two to work out how our tour (can not only) be sustainable but how can it be actively beneficial,” Martin told British broadcaster BBC in Jordan, where Coldplay will perform two shows on Friday to mark the album’s release.
“Our dream is to have a show with no single-use plastic, to have it be largely solar-powered.”
Coldplay will play a one-off show at London’s Natural History Museum on Monday to promote the album. All performance proceeds will go to environmental charity ClientEarth.
“This is expected to be the band’s only UK show of the ‘Everyday Life’ era,” a press release for the show said.
Coldplay last toured globally in 2016-2017 to promote album “A Head Full of Dreams.”
“All of us, in every industry, have to just work out what the best way of doing our job is ... The hardest thing is the flying side of things,” Martin said.
Amid growing environmental concerns from consumers and young fans, several music artists have addressed climate change in lyrics or announced plans to improve their green credentials.
Rockers The 1975 teamed up with climate activist Greta Thunberg for a track on their upcoming album in which the teenage Swedish activist warns about climate change.
“It is fantastic to see world famous artists stepping up to protect the planet,” Gareth Redmond-King, head of Climate Change at the WWF conservation group, said in a statement.
“We all have a responsibility to lead by example in the face of this climate and nature crisis — inaction is not an option if we are to preserve our planet for future generations.”

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