One huge reason that I wanted to see The Perfect Candidate was that it was directed by Saudi Arabia’s first female filmmaker. How amazing is that? It’s sort of unreal to think in 2019 that we get the first female anything. There’s been a lot of judgment toward this new wave of feminism in that many people undermine discrimination toward women simply because anti-discriminatory laws on the basis of gender exist. Just because these laws exist doesn’t mean that people don’t find ways around it. Unfortunately, there are perfectly legal ways to keep women from having the same opportunities as men, especially when that involves being in a position of power. This movie is about a Saudi doctor who decides to run for office in her city. It also
I don’t know much about Saudi Arabia, but considering that we are living in the age of their first female filmmaker, I’m assuming that having a woman in office is not accepted lightly. She’s not taken seriously and has to work 10x harder to get the same respect as her male competitors. Reminds me of a certain election here in the U.S. I think a fair amount of Americans like to believe that we treat our women better than other countries. Many people specifically like to point out these kinds of flaws in Middle Eastern countries. People like to write off our own problems by pointing out everyone else’s, which does not overwrite the fact that we have work to do as a country as well in the way we value women.
I was lucky enough to be able to stay for the discussion with the director at the end of the movie. It was interesting to see where she drew inspiration from her personal life. This is the second film she’s made in Saudi Arabia. It was shocking to hear about the first movie she made there: she was not allowed to be on her own set. She had to sit in a van and communicate through walkie talkies. Imagine directing an entire film that way. I really enjoyed this film of hers and also learned that I’ve watched another film she directed, Nappily Ever After, on Netflix. She’s an inspiration and it was an honor to get to see her film and learn about her country and experiences.