Part of SFFILM Festival
The Perfect Candidate
Saudi Arabia has one of the least satisfactory records with respect to women’s rights, but Haifaa Al Mansour’s latest film reminds us that great change often happens in incremental steps. Eminently capable physician Dr. Maryam is frustrated by resources and attitudes that she faces daily in her clinic, so when a bureaucratic situation presents the opportunity to run for local office, she signs on. Though there’s anger and pointed commentary in the story, the film is buoyant and hopeful as Maryam figures out how to respond to obstacles put in her way.
“A feel-good Middle East tale — a fable, really — about a determined, courageous young woman who establishes her own identity in one of the most repressive male-oriented societies in the world, Haifaa Al Mansour’s The Perfect Candidate offers a candid view on Saudi Arabian society that will pique the curiosity of Western audiences.” –Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter
Haifaa Al-Mansour is Saudi Arabia’s first female filmmaker. She began her career making shorts before making first a documentary, Women Without Shadows (2005), about the role of women in Saudi society, and then a narrative, Wadjda (2012). Her other films include Mary Shelley (2018) and Nappily Ever After (2018).
“I did Wadjda [in Saudi Arabia] in 2012, then I did Mary Shelley in the UK, and then Nappily Ever After in the US. I felt like I needed to go home. I felt… not homesick, but like I wanted to tell stories about people that I know inside out. I just felt like I needed something close to me. –Haifaa Al-Mansour, Seventh Row
Country Saudi Arabia/Germany
Director Haifaa Al-Mansour
Producer Roman Paul, Haifaa Al-Mansour, Brad Niemann, Gerhard Meixner
Writer Haifaa Al-Mansour, Brad Niemann
Editor Andreas Wodraschke
Cinematographer Patrick Orth
Music Volker Bertelmann
Cast Mila Alzahrani, Dhay, Nourah Al Awad