Nablus businessmen Marwan Masri and Bashir Sheka opened Cinema City, the first movie theatre in the city to open its doors in 22 years, amid much fanfare on Saturday.
Sheka’s family opened a cinema in 1921 in the city, but it closed after the first Intifadah in 1987. According to Sheka the theatre’s projectors from 1935 remain in working order, but the 1,300 seats are moth-eaten and empty.
Opening the new theatre was no easy task, its owners said. “Nablus,” Sheka noted, “has been a closed city surrounded by checkpoints for so long…We open this [theater] for a new beginning.” Moreover, Masri said, it took a full year to negotiate deals with film distributors in Lebanon and Egypt who viewed Palestine as too unstable for business.
The new one-screen cinema is in the heart of the downtown area of Nablus, just outside of the Old City. On Saturday night the theatre screened an Egyptian film, titled Ramadan Mabrouk Abu Al-Aalamen Hamoda and directed by Wael Ihsan, to a packed house of 200.