Haifaa AL MANSOUR
Maryam, a young doctor in Saudi Arabia, requests the municipal government to pave the road in front of the medical clinic where she works, but years pass without progress. Because she is a woman, Maryam has to wear a niqab that covers all but her eyes even inside the clinic, and emergency patients refuse to be treated by her, yelling and demanding to be seen by a man. Determined to change her situation and look for a better job at a hospital in Dubai, Maryam goes to the airport, only to find out that her travel permit cannot be extended without the permission of a male guardian. When she realizes that there is nothing she can do to change her current situation, Maryam decides to run for the local election and allot a portion of the city’s budget to pave the unpaved street in front of the clinic. She enlists the help of her sisters Selma, who is a wedding photographer, and Sara, who is disapproving of Maryam’s choices, and kicks off her election campaign amidst biases and prejudices.As she pursues her dream of a better tomorrow, Maryam faces a number of difficulties in her daily life. But she had a father, who also chases after his dreams and watches his daughters take on the challenges in their lives; she has two sisters who support her with all their heart despite petty grumbling; and she has a stubborn patient who comes to acknowledge her as the “perfect candidate.” Maryam begins to change the world little by little, and this change is symbolically revealed through the contrast between the first hospital scene, where she wears a niqab that covers all but her eyes, and the last hospital scene, where she dons a hijab and leaves her face fully uncovered. (PARK Sun Young)
Haifaa AL MANSOUR
Haifaa AL MANSOUR finished her bachelor’s degree in Literature at the American University in Cairo and completed a Master’s degree in Directing and Film Studies from the University of Sydney. She is considered the first female filmmaker in Saudi Arabia and her feature film WADJDA (2012) was the first feature film ever to be shot entirely inside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Invited to over 40 festivals worldwide, WADJDA garnered numerous awards - among others in Venice, Rotterdam and Dubai.