The Perfect Candidate
Mila Alzahrani, Dhay, Khalid Abdulrahim, Shafi Al Harthy
Saudi Arabian director Haifaa Al Mansour’s acclaimed, beloved Wadjda was the first feature made by a Saudi female director, and the first film shot entirely in the kingdom. After shooting two titles in the US (Mary Shelley, Nappily Ever After) she has returned to Saudi Arabia for this triumphantly fiery, headstrong story about women trying to break the glass ceiling in what remains an incredibly repressive and patriarchal society.
A young doctor, Maryam’s (Mila Al Zahrani ) only desire is for the dirt road outside the local hospital to be surfaced, but no one takes this ambitious professional woman’s modest political mission seriously. So despite the fact that she isn’t supposed to run for office, or show her face in campaign videos, or directly address male voters – she decides to run for a seat on the municipal council, launching a campaign that begins as a novelty act, but quickly grows into something more.
In part a multi-layered family drama, Al Mansour lovingly outlines how the new candidate is supported by her sisters and how her father, a musician, worries about her progressive values. Like Wadjda, The Perfect Candidate is soaked through with incredible power, conviction and hopes for a better world.