Israelis flock to watch new Saudi film, leading to Saudi appreciation

The film, ‘The Perfect Candidate’ by Haifaa al-Mansour, will be shown commercially in the country soon.

Haifaa al-Mansour, Saudi film director  (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Haifaa al-Mansour, Saudi film director
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Israelis flocked to enjoy the recently-made Saudi film The Perfect Candidate by Haifaa al-Mansour, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported. The film was chosen to open the first women's film festival at the Jerusalem Cinematheque on December 16. The movie is also due to be shown in the country by the Lev Cinema chain starting in March. 
The screening was sold out and the audience responded positively to the film, which tells the story of a female doctor who is frustrated by poor road conditions outside the hospital where she works and decides to run for a local government post to fix the problem.
In the process, she has to contend with men who are threatened by a strong woman and laws that make it nearly impossible for her to contain.
Taking the excited responses of the movie goers and placing them online in Arabic on social media, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs got some very warm responses from Saudi users who were impressed and delighted by the interest Israelis showed in their culture.
“How is it possible Israelis love Saudi Arabia more than the Palestinians?” One Saudi user wondered.
“We are much closer to you than you think,” the Israelis told their Saudi friends, and heaped praise on the film and its director.

This is the third film by Al-Mansour to play in Israel. Her debut feature, Wadjda (2012), the story of a girl who wants a bicycle, which is considered off-limits for girls, received positive reviews in Israel and was well-received by audiences. She currently lives in California with her husband, Bradley Niemann, an American diplomat.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs had opened a virtual embassy to help bring Israeli culture and issues closer to residents of the kingdom.
For many years, Israeli audiences have enjoyed movies by directors in a number of countries with which Israel does not currently have diplomatic relations, including Iran.
Oscar-winning Iranian director's Asghar Farhadi's last three films, A Separation, The Past and The Salesman were a hit with Israeli arthouse audiences.