DIRECTOR: Haifaa Al-Mansour
UK (Arabic) / 2019
SUNDAY 2 MAY 10.00AM
SUNDAY 30 MAY 10.00AM
RUNNING TIME: 104 MINS
Make no mistake, ‘The Perfect Candidate’ is a quietly ground-breaking piece of work.
-Time Out magazine
Many Arab states are loosening legal restrictions on women – but translating that into actual societal change can be difficult. In this serious yet amusing look at those challenges, we see Doctor Maryam (Mila Al Zahrani) as she fights to get the muddy tracks outside her hospital upgraded. And we see her realise the only way towards getting the issue taken seriously is to campaign from within – so she stands for election as a member of the local government. This is an unheard-of thing for a woman in her community, and she is met with male condescension, female fear of rocking the boat, and establishment hurdles dropped casually in front of her every move: “I suppose you want to get better playgrounds and gardens for our children,” smarms one TV interviewer. But Maryam perseveres, and insists on pushing her public works agenda to a successful outcome. Director Al-Mansour (Wajda, BOFA 2013) treads a delicate tightrope between moral tale and charming “little-guy-wins” drama, and succeeds in delivering a real glimpse into the way women are taking themselves seriously in today’s Saudi Arabia. Great musical soundtrack too – partly from Maryam’s dad.
AWARDS: Winner, Special Mention, Malmö Arab Film Festival, 2020