Despite intense pressure from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to block The Dissident, a documentary about the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the film has won a great success.
As the film, which tells the bloody story of Khashoggi’s assassination inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, won thousands of viewers’ admiration.
The film also received wide international fame and was nominated for three international awards, which re-sheds light on the Khashoggi murder.
Narrowing down the movie’s popularity
According to what was published by NBC News, director Brian Vogel feels that his “strong” documentary will not be popular.
And that’s even before The Dissident premieres at the Sundance Film Festival in late January.
During the filming, Vogel pleaded with media companies not to be afraid. “My biggest dream is for the distribution companies to stand up to Saudi Arabia,” he said.
In December 2020, he said that he found a company to display his film after eight months of trouble, but it was independent and did not have a global broadcasting platform.
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After showing it for two weeks in about 200 cinemas; the number has due to the pandemic.
The Dissident will be available for rent on platforms such as iTunes, Amazon and Roku.
According to a report published by NBC News, the cold recognition that the film received from the major media companies was not because of its quality.
It received a 97% rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, and 99% of the audience. Instead, it is because of his openness in challenging the Saudi regime’s suppression of freedom of expression. It also raises questions about the future of political films in the more extensive broadcasting services that are more likely to be reluctant to take on risky films.
Documenting Khashoggi’s assassination
The Dissident movie features audio clips of Khashoggi’s assassination.
It deals with interviews with his fiancée Hatice Cengiz and with the Turkish authorities.
It also includes testimonies from United Nations investigators, and details of hacking efforts by Saudi Arabia, including the leak of a phone call to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
The same approach is said to be found in the hacking of exiled activist Omar Abdel Aziz, a close associate of Khashoggi.
In the end, The Dissident discusses why states and companies continue to do business with a country that resorts to such methods and arrests and assassinates opponents.
“I hope the film will keep Jamal’s name, life and values alive,” Khadija says over the phone from Istanbul. I hope people will ask more and more questions.”
The film had previously been shown at the “Sundance” Film Festival, with significant reactions.
And former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attended his premiere, along with Khashoggi’s fiancée.