The Perfect Candidate

About

The first Saudi woman to direct a feature film, Haifaa Al Mansour broke out with Wadjda and returns to her roots with The Perfect Candidate, which premiered at the Venice International Film Festival and is Saudi Arabia’s Academy Award entry for Best International Feature Film.

When Maryam, a hardworking young doctor in a small-town clinic, is prevented from flying to Dubai for a conference without a male guardian’s approval, she seeks help from a politically connected cousin but inadvertently registers as a candidate for the municipal council. Maryam sees the election as a way to fix the muddy road in front of her clinic, but her campaign slowly garners broader appeal.

A challenge to Saudi patriarchy, The Perfect Candidate is an amusing but biting reflection on women in a society that systematically marginalizes them. Al Mansour finds an inadvertent heroine in Maryam, who learns to run a campaign from a web article and creatively navigates a restriction barring her from addressing male voters directly. With spirit and authenticity, the film offers a rare glimpse into a still-obscure society.

YEAR 2019

CATEGORY Spotlight

COUNTRY Germany/Saudi Arabia

RUN TIME 104 min

LANGUAGE Arabic

SUBTITLES Yes with English subtitles

COMPANY The Match Factory

WEBSITE https://www.the-match-factory.com/

EMAIL info@matchfactory.de

PHONE +49 221 539 709-0

Credits

Director
Screenwriters
Director of Photography
Editor
Composer
Sound Designer
Rerecording Mixer 
Costume Designer
Makeup Artist
Produced by
actor

Artist Bio

Haifaa Al Mansour

Haifaa Al Mansour finished her bachelor’s degree in literature at the American University in Cairo and a master’s degree in directing and film studies from the University of Sydney. She is considered the first female Saudi Arabian filmmaker, and her feature film Wadjda was the first international film ever to be shot in Saudi Arabia. Invited to over 40 festivals worldwide, Wadjda garnered numerous awards, including in Venice, Rotterdam, and Dubai.