Amer Al-Hilal here, salutations from scorching hot Kuwait! Following the Kuwaiti elections and all the previous political drama, bloggers are now focusing their energies on entertainment and technology posts, with Cinescape, the Kuwaiti national cinema company monopoly, taking the brunt of the criticism from younger viewers due to quality control and censorship woes.
We start off with BlogAllAlong in a post entitled ‘Do You Feel Relaxed At A Kuwait Cinema?‘ which criticizes a study publicized by Cinescape (the Kuwait National Cinema Company) claiming that 96 per cent of audience members in Kuwait are satisfied with the cinemas and overall services. BlogAllAlong highlights the print and sound quality of the films, the excessive editing which now includes political themes (Cinescape does not have a ratings system like the rest of the Gulf countries) and more.
The blogger defends her point of view concerning her dissatisfaction with Kuwait cinemas:
Cinescape is using a study made by FAME (Film Audience Measurement and Evaluation), based in UK, which claims 96% of the movie-goers are not distracted, and happy with the movie visit. I tried to reach this study but this is the closest I got. The study as Cinescape puts it means that out of every 100 people I ask, only 4 should say they get distracted. I’m not sure how the case is in UK, and, but I’m sure it’s a totally different story here, and Cinescape is trying to fool advertisers with such numbers for the following reasons:
1- In the UK, people are usually more considerate to others watching the movie. If they don’t like it, or if they need to go out for something, they would do it quietly and try to bend low to avoid distracting others. They won’t at least stand up to clean their popcorn leftovers from their shirts during the film. Not to mention also how many people insist on coming late, and then taking all time they need to set down.
2- They enforce age limits there. Why does it matter so much? Cause here after they strip you of any food item before you go in, and then you pay triple the price or more for some snacks, you go inside to a +18 movie, and in the middle of the movie, a few months old baby starts to cry! Why on earth was this baby allowed inside anyways? You can keep out my bottle of water but you failed to see this baby going in?
3- Films here are censored (badly): Not only for porn and offensive scenes, but its reaching blood scenes in a vampire movie, and lately a friend of mine told me how a major political scene about the US immigration was censored. This doesn’t make any sense, and I doubt any movie-goer would be ok about it.
4- Quality of the movie: I’ve been to Flags of our Father, great war movie, and the sound was distorted. How disappointing? Other movies part of the screen was eaten from bottom and top a little.
I for one had cinema as a weekly thing. Now, I only go once every few months for the sake of change, or when there is a big hit movie I dont wanna miss or have spoiled. In those cases, I have to take great care in avoiding noisy and distracting audience. Most often than not, I can’t avoid distractions. I know many many people who also stopped or cut-short they cinema visits for the same reasons. So is the 96% satisfaction even close to real in Kuwait? Or is it just that people have no where else to go?
Marzouq in a post for Z District called ‘KNCC Confectionary And Seating‘ criticizes the seating arrangement reservations and the limited concession food availability from ‘Cinescape’ stating the poporn is subpar, for example:
Just recently going to the movies I remembered how bad the popcorn and nachos tasted at the KNCC. The popcorn was dry and really lacked flavor, and the Nachos were slightly stale. Even though they didn’t look that good I wanted them for the movie. I understand that KNCC wants to make as much money as possible from the film viewers, but still providing such bad quality food is very sad. I don’t know why they don’t produce sweet popcorn which is easily available from any company in the UK. They can get better recipes to make popcorn, how they can screw up popcorn so bad bewilders me. Honestly the popcorn that you make in your microwave tastes better then the one KNCC has, I just hope that at some point in time they hope to improve the food and selection, outsourcing would be better for them but knowing how closed minded they are I doubt they would even consider it citing quality control as an issue.
Alarzala in a post titled ‘Cinescape‘ criticizes the programming system at the Kuwait National Cinema company, in which it screens direct-to-video trash such as ‘Shark In Venice‘ and older films such as ‘White Noise 2‘ (2007) and blames the company for insulting the intelligence of its customers. Alarzala published two stills confirming his suspicions about the aforementioned films:
Moving on to technology, NumberXIV in a post entitled ‘Telecommunication Monopoly in Kuwait‘ laments the monopoly that grips certain Telecom and ISP sectors in the country, stating that Kuwait is behind the rest of the Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia in opening up the sector. The blogger explains:
We suffer from the monopoly exercised by the Telecommunication Companies in Kuwait pertaining to new mobile technology such as Blueberry and IPhone.We have three telecommunication companies but unfortunately the BlackBerry services are strictly monopolized by Zain company,while in some countries in the region like SaudiArabia,Qatar and UAE the IPhone and Blackberry services are officially open for all the companies without any restrictions. The telecommunication technology is developing rapidly in the world while here in Kuwait it is so inferior even to the much poorer countries. I really don’t know until when this miserable situation will continue.This unfair monopoly is really pushing the hackers forward to invent all possible and illegal ways to connect between IPhone and Blackberry among the users in Kuwait. Believe it or not ,even Skype is blocked and no one can benefit from its fantastic services and technology except the hackers!! SO,in order for a user in Kuwait to be up to date with the latest technology in telecommunications,he/she must convert to a HACKER!! I THINK IT IS TIME FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO LAY DOWN NEW LAWS TO STOP THIS UNFAIR MONOPOLY AND OPEN A NEW ERA OF COMPETITION AMONG ALL THE THREE TELECOMMUNICATION COMPANIES IN KUWAIT WHICH WILL BE FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE USERS OF THESE ADVANCED SERVICES.