Director: Haifaa Al-Mansour

Run time :101 minutes

Cast: Dae Al Hilali; Mila Al Zahrani; Nora Al Awadh

Synopsis : Maryam is an ambitious young doctor working in a small-town clinic in Saudi Arabia. Despite her qualifications, she has to earn the respect of male colleagues and acceptance from her patients every day. After Maryam is prevented from travelling to Dubai in search of a better job, a bureaucratic mix-The she faces the restriction of women’s traditional roles in the Kingdom at every turn, Maryam’s audacious candidacy starts to build momentum and challenges her conservative community. A tight race emerges between Maryam and her male opponent, as Maryam and her family mobilise their determination and creativity to move their traditional society forward.

Language: Arabic Country: Saudi Arabia


Saudi Director Haifan Al-Mansour (Wadjda, Mary Shelley) returns to her homeland to produce a blistering indictment of the daily indignities suffered by women in the Kingdom – the dress code of the niqab which Maryam has to wear in her clinic; the abuse she suffers from male patients; the necessity of male written authorisation when she tries to fly to an appointment in Dubai; the suspicion and resentment she is subjected to when she makes the move into the male preserve of politics (despite the modesty of her single issue campaign – providing a proper road to her clinic.)

Director Al-Mansour cleverly builds into the film another strand highlighting a concern of many Saudis – the revival and preservation of the Kingdom’s cultural and artistic heritage. The decision to make Maryam’s family wedding singers adds indirectly to Maryam’s alienation as her father loses himself in grieving for his late singer wife and in touring and campaigning for a national orchestra.

For anyone unfamiliar with Saudi Arabia, the film is a welcome eye-opener, highlighting the position of women, in a mood sometimes of anger, sometimes of comic exasperation, but always with a deftness of touch from the Director and her ensemble cast of local talents.

Earlier this month, Haifaa Al Mansour, Saudi Arabia’s first female director was welcomed to the Glasgow Film Festival for the Scottish premiere of The Perfect Candidate.

Watch now online on Curzon Home Cinema: BFI Player ; and with

Modern Films

Images courtesy of: Modern Film