Imax film a history lesson on Saudi Arabia, Islam
By Kathryn Greenaway, Postmedia News January 21, 2011
Courtesy: Times Colonist, Victoria, BC.
Where: National Geographic Imax Theatre
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There is something to be said for armchair tourism, especially when the armchair tourism in question involves witnessing the largest gathering of people on Earth in a giant Imax Theatre.
The gathering in question is the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca by Muslims from all over the world. In 2010, an estimated three million people gathered at the Masjid al-Haram mosque to walk in a counter-clockwise direction around the Kaaba (cube) which is considered the most sacred site in Islam.
Every devout Muslim is expected to make the pilgrimage once in his or her lifetime.
Watching millions of devout Muslims circle the Kaaba is just one element in the history lesson called Arabia, which opens at the Imax Theatre this week.
The film is produced and directed by Imax veteran Greg MacGillivray and narrated, in parts, by actor Helen Mirren and historian Robert Lacey.
The lion's share of narration, however, belongs to Arab filmmaker Hamzah Jamjoon. It is through his eyes that we discover modern-day Saudi Arabia. Jamjoon, back home from his film studies at Chicago's DePaul University, travels with his camera to capture the country's drive to balance the power of tradition with the push for social, academic and economic growth. And so a film within a film unfolds.
In broad strokes, the movie addresses 2,000 years of Arabian history, focusing on two "golden ages." We learn about the first golden age which was born with the rise in power of the Nabateans, a people who harvested frankincense.
Enormous quantities of the fragrant resin were used in religious rituals and the Nabateans became very wealthy and powerful trading it far and wide.
© Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist
Canadian Astronaut Bob Thirsk visits the theatre on
Monday, December 13, 2010 to talk with an
audience of BC students that were on hand to view
a screening of the IMAX film HUBBLE.
Canada's astronauts embody the spirit of the Canadian
Space Program and their courage and commitment are a
source of inspiration to many. Their main job is to
develop, support, train and fly on international space
missions, and amongst other important aspects they also
play a key role in raising awareness about Canada's
activities in space and inspiring students to explore the
fields of science and technology.
Click HERE to watch the Island: 30 segment of Bob Thirsk's visit December 13, 2010 courtesy of CHEK TV.
Two BC Students attending the special screening. Charlie & Rajan are from the Selkirk Montessori School in Victoria.
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