Saudi Arabia picks ‘The Perfect Candidate’ as its official Oscars submission

The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival in August. (Supplied)
Updated 06 October 2019

Saudi Arabia picks ‘The Perfect Candidate’ as its official Oscars submission

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia has submitted Haifaa Al-Mansour’s “The Perfect Candidate” as its official entry for the International Feature Film Award at the 92nd Academy Awards, with the final shortlist set to be announced by the Academy in January.

The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival in August.

Helmed by Al-Mansour, the movie has already made history as the first film supported by the Saudi Film Council, which announced its intention to back Saudi Arabian productions and expand the country’s film industry during the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.

The movie is a comedic drama about a Saudi female doctor who goes against the traditional patriarchal norms in order to run for municipal election in the Kingdom.

Al-Mansour’s films often focus on the challenges that young women face in male-dominated societies. “The Perfect Candidate” is no different.

Though it tackles serious issues, “The Perfect Candidate” is not solely a drama. It also highlights the humor of the Saudi Arabian people — something that often gets overlooked.

“We have a great sense of humor that people don’t see,” Al-Mansour told Arab News.

“In film, we can show that — it’s something people will discover. Food too. Also, how in Saudi there is a huge distinction between what is public and what is private. In private, people sing, have fun, and are fluid. Once people go out, they are reserved, because that is the way the culture is. With film, you will get a chance to see how people are in private. This is the only way that people can see who we are — by opening our heart through film.”


‘A Fall from Grace’ is a dark thriller with a fresh take

A still from ‘A Fall from Grace.’ Supplied
Updated 26 January 2020

‘A Fall from Grace’ is a dark thriller with a fresh take

  • Penned, produced and helmed by Tyler Perry, “A Fall From Grace" is now streaming on Netflix
  • The film tackles a rarely discussed subject — that of elderly abuse.

CHENNAI: Tyler Perry’s dark thriller “A Fall From Grace” — in which he also acts — reminded me not of Hitchcock or Agatha Christie or even Arthur Conan Doyle, but of Erle Stanley Gardner and his brilliant courtroom drama, with Perry Mason playing both lawyer and sleuth. 

Penned, produced and helmed by Perry, “A Fall From Grace,” now streaming on Netflix, is set in suburban Virginia and was shot in just five days. Middle-aged divorcee Grace (Crystal Fox) has murdered her young husband. She has even confessed to it, and it looks like an open-and-shut case. Public prosecutor Jasmine (Bresha Webb), a novice in the field, is asked by her boss (Perry) to get a plea deal from Grace. 

But when the two women meet — a much older Grace and much younger Jasmine — something does not seem right to the prosecutor, and much against the wishes of her boss and the accused, she goes about making her own investigations. 

There is a strong element of Christian faith running through the movie, and we see Jasmine tracking down Grace’s best friend Sarah (Phylicia Rashad), who also feels that there is something amiss. A series of flashbacks narrates Grace’s unfortunate story.

Disillusioned over her former husband’s affair, Grace flips for a handsome young photographer Shanon, who woos her with flowers and dinner dates. Sarah encourages her friend, and much like a Gardner plot, “A Fall from Grace” is peppered with hints and clues. Catch them if you can. But what finally turns out is a horror story of torture and turmoil.

Interestingly, the film tackles a rarely discussed subject — that of elderly abuse. It is said that 5 million older men and women are ill-treated every year in America, and “A Fall from Grace” has some disturbing revelations to show us. They are sheer horror, and the last word in human cruelty. 

The movie has its weak moments — some characters’ motivations are never fully explained, for example. But on the whole, it is a disturbing tale that will keep you hooked.