3 Saudi Comedies to Binge Watch This Weekend
Everyone loves a good laugh and no one appreciates a satisfying chuckle more than Saudi Arabians, evident in the number of Saudi skits found on YouTube, funny music videos, stellar standup sets, and their homegrown films and series. For a taste of their unique sense of humor, here are three Saudi Arabian comedies to help you enjoy a good laugh this weekend:
"Shaman Alma'arif" started streaming on Netflix on October 1. It is a comedy movie that follows a high school senior, Husam, who is interested in making online video content as social media becomes part of everyday lives. The film is set in 2010, so you can say that it's about looking back to how our real-life reliance on social media all started. The movie first premiered in July 2020 with overwhelming reception within the Arab cinema community.
Barakah Meets Barakah
"Barakah Meets Barakah" follows the story of a civil servant, Barakah, who issues traffic tickets to offenders. One day, he stumbles upon Instagram posts by a woman, Bibi, and is immediately stricken. Set in a time when Saudi Arabia still had its religious police, the film presents an almost comical look at the hurdled Barakah would soon face when trying to meet Bibi in person. The movie is also a historical commentary on how things were different during the time of the main character's uncle, a time when it was much easier for men and women to interact.
Considered the first movie to be shot entirely in Saudi Arabia by its first female director, Haifaa al-Mansour, "Wadjda" was selected as the Kingdom’s entry for the Oscars and it’s easy to see why. The film follows a young girl, Wadjda, who signs up for her school's Qur’an recitation competition as a way to raise funds to buy a green bicycle she really wants in order to compete in a race against a boy, after her mom refuses to get the bike for her for fear of repercussions from society. The film presents a simple yet stunning criticism of society and an intimate look at the dynamics between a young girl and her mom. Now, even though the film touched on tough topics at home, it received praise and admiration in Saudi Arabia.