Posted on April 22, 2017

A few months ago, images of the new luxurious FLIK cinemas surfaced the internet. It has captured the attention of many of the locals due to its state of the art construction and first class services.

Ever since its opening, Qataris have been swarming the movie theatre every weekend in order to purchase tickets for the movie of their choice. The list of movie options almost always consists of predominant Hollywood and Bollywood productions with a limited array of Arabic produced films. It may seem like the typical local global movie-goer interaction on the surface, but it is much more than that when looking at the bigger picture of its refined services.

The new movie theatre takes the globalized entity of cinema and westernized movies and creates a localized adaptive service that enables and encourages the consumption by locals, especially the younger ones. The first class services that it offers coincides with the culture’s values and eating habits. The movie theatre that is situated at the Lagoona Mall offers a variety of services that includes an expensively crafted menu and high technology facilities. It allows movie goers to order food from the elegant global cuisine of Fauchon Paris. This is important as food plays a huge role in the Middle Eastern culture.  As a Qatari woman myself, I can guarantee that the presence of a meal is vital to every collective luxurious event, especially an entertainment related one. This adds to the movie watching experience as it provides its customers with a meal instead of a snack. This alongside the leather seats and snack side table create an experience that closely emulates the service of a five-star restaurant, which based on personal experience appeals to the majority of the population due to the natural belief that a properly cooked meal in a comfortable environment brings people together.

The theatre’s emphasis on “family” supports a highly valued principle of Qataris. Most Qatari families I know insist on spending a sacred weekend day together. The notion of a family is extremely important in the Middle Eastern culture and the theatre’s services not only adheres but also caters to it. It offers people the opportunity to book private screenings of the movie and timing of their choice. In its website, this option is advertised as an experience that enables the enjoyment of a movie with family and close friends. Another principle that this booking option highlights is the importance of privacy to the culture. The Qatari culture is conservative and that means that they value their privacy. This opportunity allows them to watch the latest western or non-western movies in an enclosed environment and that encourages the globalization of cinema through the localization of its services.

The tactical adjustments made in the movie theatre also corresponds with the beliefs of the culture and their native tongue language. I encountered many workers that could speak and understand the Arabic language and that enabled them to better converse with locals. The movie theatre makes an effort to preserve the Arabic language in the film industry by choosing to view a few Arabic produced films alongside the Hollywood and Bollywood blockbusters. All the movies that they view are subtitled in Arabic, which allows locals to understand what they are watching and in return come back and consume more tickets to other movies.

The services of the movie theatre also ensure that proper hygiene is maintained at all times. I have personally visited many movie theatres all over the world and have not encountered any that paid this much attention to its sanitation. The standard of cleanliness is extremely high. The toilets are accessible and are provided with a sufficient cleaning staff. The cleaning staff also clean out the remains of the food left behind after the screening is over. This is a critical point because my peers and other locals I know value cleanliness more than anything.

These are only some of the reasons why luxurious theatres such as FLIK cinemas embody the localization of the movie-goer experience. They are important because they help encourage the globalization of cinema whilst still maintaining and preserving some of the locals’ values and beliefs.

by Fatema Al-Theyab (Communications student at Northwestern University in Qatar)