Saudi film ‘Irtidad’ shortlisted at international festival

The film explores the local culture of the southern regions in the Kingdom.
Short Url
Updated 25 December 2019

Saudi film ‘Irtidad’ shortlisted at international festival

  • The movie follows young newlyweds who find themselves outside their comfort zone as they go on a short trip to a remote village in the rural areas of Saudi Arabia

DHAHRAN: The new Saudi movie “Irtidad” — funded by the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) — has been shortlisted for screening at the 42nd Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, which will take place from Jan. 31 to Feb. 8 in France. The film has been selected from 9,000 submissions and 80 nominees.

The head of performing arts at Ithra, Majed Z. Samman, said the film was presented as part of the Saudi Film Days contest, which is one of the center’s initiatives for developing local cinema.

He said: “The center supports the cinema industry in the Kingdom by recognizing invaluable talents and encouraging them to be part of the world stage.”

The film, which was directed by Mohamed Al-Hamoud, explores the local culture of the southern regions in the Kingdom. Al-Hamoud said that the movie follows young newlyweds who find themselves outside their comfort zone as they go on a short trip to a remote village in the rural areas of Saudi Arabia.

He explained that the story explores the cultural shock from experiencing new worlds.

The film begins by introducing the couple and revealing their contrasting backgrounds. The wife was raised in Jeddah, a bustling city in sharp contrast to the husband’s upbringing in a remote village in Jazan. His humble family wished to dazzle the wife with a traditional dinner party, so the villagers would get to know her. The husband tries to persuade his family to simplify the party for fear of culturally shocking his wife.

Al-Hamoud said that the film was titled “Irtidad,” which means recoil in English, “because its events revolve around the culture shock or the first recoiling that occurs when exploring a new and different world. The exposure caused by the environment, the places and the new faces portrays the initial test for their emerging relationship.”

“Irtidad” has been shown at three international festivals: The Kolkata International Film Festival in India, the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival in Estonia and the Lublin Film Festival in Poland. All of these events focus on celebrations of heritage from around the world.

The director said that the film’s showcasing of Saudi culture led to the nomination at the Clermont-Ferrand festival, which is one of the world’s most prestigious short film festivals.


Riyadh ‘Peace Declaration’ seen as game-changer for stability in Sudan

Updated 14 August 2020

Riyadh ‘Peace Declaration’ seen as game-changer for stability in Sudan

JEDDAH: As chair of the Friends of Sudan group, Saudi Arabia has called for an inclusive sustainable peace process for the country, the Kingdom’s envoy to Khartoum told Arab News.
Participants at the 8th Friends of Sudan meeting, convened via video conference on Wednesday, seized the opportunity to reaffirm their full commitment to Sudan’s Transitional Government in developing an inclusive and sustainable peace plan and economic reform program.
The group, chaired by Saudi Arabia, was represented by the Kingdom’s Foreign Minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan. Along with their international partners, through the Riyadh Friends of Sudan meeting, expressing their full confidence in the civilian-led transition under the leadership of Prime Minister Dr. Abdullah Hamdok as they continue to prioritize a comprehensive and inclusive peace plan despite unforeseen challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Kingdom’s Ambassador to Sudan Ali bin Hassan Jafar, told Arab News that the meeting comes at a crucial time for the group and is the first to discuss the peace process at length.
In recognition of its mediation role, Saudi Arabia invited representatives of the government of South Sudan as honorary guests to attend the meeting for the first time following their constructive role in the Juba peace talks.
The high-level representation, led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of South Sudan, Ambassador Beatrice Khamisa Wani, and Chairman of South Sudan Government Committee for Peace Mediation in Sudan Tut Galuak, are a recognition for their role in advancing the Juba Peace Talks negotiations in good faith.
The Friends of Sudan welcomed the participation of the Sudan Revolutionary Front and the Sudan Liberation Movement in the meeting, recognized by the group as a sign of their goodwill and commitment and constructive engagement with the international community to work with Sudan’s Transitional Government to achieve sustainability and peace in their country.
“Great efforts have been made by Saudi Arabia with the help of its international partners at the Friends of Sudan meeting to call on all parties involved to come back to the negotiating table, appealing to them to realize the historic opportunity to reach consensus for sustainable peace talks that will ensure unity, stability and prosperity of Sudan,” said the ambassador.
The Friends of Sudan was established in 2018 as an informal group, and includes countries and organizations committed to joint action to provide support to the transitional government in the country.
Representatives attended the meetings and discussed the best means to coordinate support and work with Sudan’s transitional government to reach economic stability, prosperity and sustainable peace in the country’s critical time.
“The meeting served as a first achievement in the Friends of Sudan group, reaffirming their commitment to helping Sudan sustainable peace. Under Saudi Arabia’s initiative, the group issued the Riyadh declaration ‘Partners for Sustainable Peace in Sudan,” added the ambassador.
The declaration commended the resolution and resolve of most of the outstanding issues during the Juba Peace Talks, said the ambassador.
The road ahead will be challenging, the envoy added.
The Partners for Sustainable Peace in Sudan Declaration (Peace Declaration) expressed their concern that a number of parties remain outside the peace process. The ‘Peace Deceleration’ called on all parties to the conflict to engage in good faith in the peace process and refrain from counterproductive demands, cautioning that all spoilers to the peace process or the implementation of the Political Agreement and Constitutional Charter of Aug. 17, 2019, may have consequences imposed on them.
The inclusion of women and youth in the peace process and the transitional government was also stressed in the meeting.
The declaration reaffirms the group’s commitment and will to remain engaged and assist Sudan’s Transitional Government. Any obstruction to the peace process will prolong the suffering of the Sudanese people, the partners said.
As the world is a financial crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Friends of Sudan group urged in the meeting that parties to the peace talks be aware of Sudan’s economic challenges, prioritize demands that reflect the understanding and appreciation to these challenges and collaborate to find mutual and agreeable solutions.