‘The Perfect Candidate,’ a Saudi movie to debut in German language

Mila Alzahrani, center, plays the lead role as Dr. Maryam in the film ‘The Perfect Candidate.’ (Photo/Supplied)
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Updated 10 January 2020

‘The Perfect Candidate,’ a Saudi movie to debut in German language

  • The film addresses several issues, from female empowerment to breaking cultural norms

JEDDAH: Following a series of successful releases by Saudi filmmakers over the past few years, Haifa Al-Mansour’s latest film will be screened in Germany, dubbed into German — a first for any Saudi film. 

Supported by the Saudi Film Council, “The Perfect Candidate” or “Die Perfekte Kandidatin” is the producer’s latest comedic drama, made with German producers Gerhard Meixner and Roman Paul of Razor Film Produktion. The film will make its debut in Germany on March 12, 2020.

While most countries show foreign language films in their original version with added subtitles, Germany, as well as many European countries, has dominated the foreign movie scene by providing dubbed versions for their audience, an ideal method of conveying messages to bridge the gap between the “foreign” and “familiar.” 

“Thanks to Haifa Al-Mansour and other Saudi artists, together with the opening of the country, Saudi Arabia is a rising star in the German cultural scene,” said Holger Ziegeler, German consul general in Jeddah, to Arab News.

Thanks to Haifa Al-Mansour and other Saudi artists, together with the opening of the country, Saudi Arabia is a rising star in the German cultural scene.

Holger Ziegeler, German consul general in Jeddah

“A few years ago, “Barakah Meets Barakah” (a film by Saudi filmmaker Mahmoud Sabbagh) from Jeddah made it into German cinemas with subtitles and it’s the next step that a movie from Saudi Arabia will now be released in German cinemas in the German language. I congratulate the co-producers on this decision and, knowing the story of the movie, I am certain that it will have huge success in Germany,” he said.

Dr. Mohamed Hegazy, a Cairo-born doctor who was raised in Jeddah, and is continuing his medical studies in Freiburg, Germany, agreed with the consul general, telling Arab News that the German people were keen to know and understand Saudi society more.

“Dubbed films grab people’s attention more in Germany. The audience will get to see a different side of Saudi society, one that is not known to them and will fix previous misconceptions if they have any,” he said.

Having lived in Freiburg for eight years now, he sees that there is much more acceptance of independent films, as they allow glimpses of different cultures through different lenses.

“I took a class on film 2014 in Berlin. There I learnt that German cinema really appreciates the human story above all else. They celebrate the very sentiments that make us human,” Afnan Linjawi, a Saudi screenwriter and 2014 German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) student told Arab News. “They are also very proud of their language and everything there is always translated into German.

“I think having Al-Mansour’s movie screened in German is just a testimony of her success. She made a commercially viable film out of an underdog story of a Saudi woman, a topic that was often categorized as a ‘humanitarian’ or ‘independent’ genre.”

HIGHLIGHTS

• Haifa Al-Mansour’s latest film ‘The Perfect Candidate’ will be screened in Germany and dubbed in German.

• The ‘Perfect Candidate’ tells the story of Dr. Maryam, played by Mila Alzahrani, who is determined to advance her career but is prohibited from traveling abroad for a medical conference without her guardian’s consent.

• The film initially screened at the Venice Film Festival on Aug. 28, 2019, and it also screened at several others including Toronto, Zurich, London and Busan in Korea.

Linjawi recommends international viewers watch films in their original language to be able to experience the authenticity behind the films, adding that the Saudi cultural bureau in Germany should host a special screening of the film in Arabic, subtitled in German.

“The Perfect Candidate” tells the story of Dr. Maryam, played by Mila Alzahrani, who is determined to advance her career but is prohibited from traveling abroad for a medical conference without her guardian’s consent. The film addresses several issues, from female empowerment to breaking cultural norms in an ever-growing and changing society.  

Al-Mansour portrayed the women in the film as leaders taking matters into their own hands, progressing toward development on both an economic and social scale.

I took a class on film 2014 in Berlin. There I learnt that German cinema really appreciates the human story above all else. They celebrate the very sentiments that make us human.

Afnan Linjawi, Saudi screenwriter and 2014 German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) student

“Through her journey, I wanted to show an optimistic view of the role women can play in Saudi society and the contributions they can make toward forging their own destinies,” said Al-Mansour in her director’s comment on the Venice Biennale website. 

“The subtext of the film focuses on the need to celebrate and honor our strong cultural and artistic traditions, and to let them guide the efforts to develop and modernize the country,” she continued.

The film initially screened at the Venice Film Festival on Aug. 28, 2019, and it also screened at several others including Toronto, Zurich, London and Busan in Korea. 

It was selected for the Golden Lion Award at the 76th Venice International Film Festival as well as Saudi Arabia’s entry for the Best International Feature Film in the 92nd Academy Awards.


Saudi Cabinet voices support for the territorial sovereignty of Cyprus

King Salman chairs the Cabinet session on Tuesday. The meeting reviewed the Kingdom’s economic progress. (SPA)
Updated 45 min 13 sec ago

Saudi Cabinet voices support for the territorial sovereignty of Cyprus

  • Kingdom calls for security to be maintained in the region

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has voiced its support for Cyprus’ territorial sovereignty amid growing tensions following the discovery of oil and gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean.

The Saudi Cabinet, chaired by King Salman, on Tuesday said it was watching developments in the eastern Mediterranean “with great interest,” and called for security and stability to be maintained in the region.
The Cabinet also reviewed the Kingdom’s progress among 190 economies in the World Bank’s Women, Business and the Law 2020 report, which placed it first among GCC countries and second in the Arab world on legislative reforms relating to women.
Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 program supports the implementation of reforms that enhance women’s role in economic development, raising the Kingdom’s competitiveness regionally and globally.
Minister of Media Turki bin Abdullah Al-Shabanah said the Cabinet reviewed several reports on developments in regional and international arenas.
The Cabinet reiterated the Kingdom’s assertion during the fourth session of the Arab Parliament in Cairo that its policy is based on the principles of peaceful coexistence and good neighborliness, full respect for the sovereignty and independence of states, noninterference in their internal affairs, and its belief that these principles are capable of resolving all conflicts, foremost the Arab-Israeli conflict.

HIGHLIGHT

The Cabinet reviewed efforts to promote political solutions to crises in Syria, Yemen, Libya and Sudan, calling on all to take action to address destabilizing foreign threats and interventions.

The Cabinet also reviewed efforts to promote political solutions to crises in Syria, Yemen, Libya and Sudan, calling on all to take action to address destabilizing foreign threats and interventions and to “move forward toward the aspirations of security, stability and development of Arab countries and their peoples.”
On regional affairs, the Cabinet condemned an attack on a military site in Niger, the bombing of a security checkpoint and a tax collection center in Somalia, and the terrorist strike by Houthi militia on a mosque in the Marib governorate, which resulted in dozens of deaths and injuries.
The Cabinet session also authorized the minister of foreign affairs or his deputy to sign a draft protocol on establishing diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Zimbabwe.
An agreement on social development between the the Kingdom and Tunisia was also approved along with a memorandum of understanding for scientific and technical cooperation with Spain.
The Cabinet also approved an agreement for scientific and geological cooperation between the Saudi Geological Survey and the Russian State Geological Company.