When Haifaa al-Mansour’s directorial debut Wadjda hit in 2013, it was more than just another critically-acclaimed movie by a female filmmaker. The Saudi Arabian director was the first to ever shoot entirely within her native country and her film the first feature-length by a Saudi woman. It sparked a career that has led her to bigger projects such as Mary Shelley and Nappily Ever After, but she returns home for The Perfect Candidate, another film about a young woman looking to change the landscape in Saudi Arabia.
Debuting a few days ago in Venice where it’s in-competition for the Golden Lion award, The Perfect Candidate stars Mila Al Zahrani as a Saudi Arabian doctor who decides to run for local office, and the challenges she faces as a result. It’s an expansion of the ideas of equality and female empowerment that al-Mansour presented so beautifully and powerfully in Wadjda, but in what appears to be a more conventional manner.
No word on distribution or a stateside release but I’m hoping it hits a couple of festivals here soon (*cough*Middleburg) so we can check it out during awards season.