Saudi Arabia has reopened movie theatres across the kingdom to enable the general public to enjoy leisurely outings and movies that, in the past, they would have to travel outside of Saudi to watch.
The Saudi public are overjoyed with the change in entertainment laws and are excited to be able to enjoy a variety of films, including Black Panther which will be the first feature film to be released in the kingdom in 35 years.
Even though Saudi Arabia didn’t have the luxury of cinemas for almost 4 decades, it doesn’t mean their home grown, talented filmmakers didn’t release movies. Some noted as controversial, these film makers pushed societal boundaries to make their art.
Over the past decade we have seen renowned Saudi Arabian directors like Haifa Al Mansour enter Saudi movies into renowned world film festivals and we want in.
These are the 10 Saudi films released in the last 10 years to watch!
Wadjda – Haifa Al Mansour (2012)
Wadjda tells the tale of a young Saudi girl who signs up for her school’s Koran recitation competition as a way to raise some funds she needs to in order to buy a green bicycle that has captured her interest.
Barakah Meets Barakah – Mahmoud Sabbagh (2016)
A love story – a young man from a middle class family meets a girl from a wealthy family and they wall in love and begin a romance in a country that frowns upon it…
The Corporation – Fahmi Farahat (2011)
A much more traditional and profound film to tug on your heart strings. Fahmi Farahat’s film tells a story of a marriage ritual in the region of Mecca through the eyes of 2 characters who have been married for over 40 years. The characters discuss their experience through each stage of marriage, beginning with the proposal, through to courtship, wedding preparation, wedding night and ending with their life today.
The film combines two forms of storytelling, formal interviews as well as re-enactments which showcase traditional Arabic clothing, dancing, music and food in the holy city of Mecca.
Hadaf - Hanaa Saleh Alfassi (2016)
A young girl Sarah dares to dream of becoming a professional soccer player amidst Saudi Arabia’s conservative culture where certain sports are seen as “male sports” only. The story begs the question of whether she will be able to challenge society and reach her goal?
Aayesh - Abdullah Al-Eyaf (2010)
Aayesh is a lonely man who works as a security guard in a morgue. One day his daily routine is altered for 10 minutes, but brings about a significant change…
Fatin Drives Me Crazy – Mohammed M Sendi (2012)
Fatin and Sultan are happy young newly-weds in Saudi Arabia. However, the drama tells of how Fatin struggles with her dependence on Sultan, as he goes to work and the couple do not have a driver. Touching on an issue many Saudi women may be able to relate to, Fatin Drives Me Crazy is a must watch.
Wasati – Ali Kalthami (2016)
Wasati is a short film based on factual events that took place during a play in Riyadh over 10 years ago. The original play was called "Wasati Bela Wastiah" which translates to, "A Moderate Without a Middle-Ground," in which a group of extremists attacked a theatre and the play was shut down. The film addresses the true events and retells the story from a different point of view.
The Arabia Warrior – Aymen Khoja (2018)
The new release, directed by Aymen Khoja tells the story about the struggles of a young Saudi who, after studying at university in America and excelling in soccer, is torn between the traditions of his father and the freedom he experienced in the U.S.
The Great Muse – Abdulrahman Khawj (2017)
Abdulrahman Khawj’s 2017 film tells the tale of Nawaf, a Saudi high school graduate who is under pressure to pick a college major. While everyone else tells him what they think is best for him, he roams his home city in search for an answer of his own.