Haifaa Al Mansour is not only the first female filmmaker in Saudi Arabia but her highly acclaimed debut Wadjda (2012) was the first feature ever to be shot entirely inside the country. After a spell working abroad, she now returns with the rousing new drama, The Perfect Candidate, a rallying cry for female empowerment with an infectious optimism for a better world and the conviction that a determined individual can make a real difference.

Maryam (Mila Al Zahrani) is a doctor, pressured by overwork at a small clinic that’s struggling to cope with demand. What begins as a fight to pave the dirt road to the surgery leads to her running for a seat on the Municipal Council. Despite an unsupportive family and the considerable barriers that conservative Saudi society presents for a female politician, the struggle only spurs her on and gives her a real purpose. As her campaign begins to gain momentum, The Perfect Candidate is a genuinely inspiring drama and a fascinating insight into a rapidly changing society.

‘The Perfect Candidate is fiery and headstrong, and instantly gets you on its side. The formula works wonders…’ – Review by Xan Brooks, The Guardian

‘A testament to change as well as portraying that change in progress. Nothing in the film is as radical as its lightness of touch, its warm good humour and its sense of optimism.’ – Review by John Bleasdale, Sight & Sound

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