Film: The Perfect Candidate

Friday 16 July - Saturday 31 July, All Day

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Arabic and English with English Subtitles

Haifaa Al Mansour’s The Perfect Candidate tells the story of a determined young Saudi doctor’s surprise run for office in the local city elections sweeps up her family and community as they struggle to accept their town’s first female candidate.

The film, which was selected to compete for the Golden Lion at the 76th Venice International Film Festival is Al Mansour’s fifth feature. She is perhaps best known for her ground-breaking and award-winning WADJDA from 2012, the first feature film ever shot entirely inside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

In her director’s notes, Al Mansour describes The Perfect Candidate as a story focusing on a female Saudi doctor “who challenges the patriarchal system” when she runs as a political candidate. She adds “through her journey I want to show an optimistic view of the role women can play in Saudi society and the contributions they can make towards forging their own destinies. I want to encourage Saudi women to take a chance and break away from the system that for so long has held us back”.

The subtext of the film reflects on the need to both celebrate and honour cultural and artistic traditions to let them guide efforts to modernise the country. Al-Mansour reflects that as art galleries, theatres and concert halls reopen in the Kingdom, it is important to look at the rich artistic history the country almost lost.

She adds, “I want to show how much effort real change will entail. Women will now have opportunities to contribute and participate in a society that kept them on the sidelines for generations”.

Watch the trailer here


Main Crew

Directed by: Haifaa Al Mansour
Written by: Haifaa Al Mansour, Brad Niemann
Director of Photography: Patrick Orth
Editor: Andreas Wodraschke, BFS
Composer: Volker Bertelmann
Sound Designer: Sebastian Schmidt
Re-Recording Mixer: Olaf Mehl
Recording Mixer: Uve Haußig
Costume Designer: Heike Fademrecht
Makeup Artist: Dorothea Wiedermann
Production Manager: Ole Nicolaisen
Production Accountant: Iris Karmaat
Production Designer: Olivier Meidinger, ADC – VSK
Produced by: Roman Paul, Gerhard Meixner,
Haifaa Al Mansour, Brad Niemann

Main cast

Mila Alzahrani: Maryam
Dhay: Selma
Khalid Abdulrhim: Abdulaziz
Shafi Al Harthy: Mohammed

Duration: 101 min
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Format: 2K
Sound: 5.1
Year: 2019
Original Language: Arabic
Countries of Production: Germany, Saudi Arabia

This film is rated at PG. Read the full BBFC ratings information (which may contain spoilers) here.

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This screening is limited to the UK and Republic of Ireland.

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