In Saudi Arabia, meeting the opposite sex in public without a chaperone is prohibited and physical contact is verboten. Which makes this smart, charming romantic comedy about the Kingdom's millennial generation such a sweet surprise. After all, Saudi cinema is itself virtually a contradiction in terms: there are no regular movie theaters, and you can count the number of Saudi films on the fingers of one hand.
None of this oppressive background seems to have inhibited writer/director Mahmoud Sabbagh from pulling off this light, good-natured but pointedly subversive comedy. Barakah, an amiable Jeddah municipal law enforcement officer of humble origins, falls for Bibi, a rebellious beauty and Instagram star from a wealthy family. As the young, would-be couple attempts to get to know each other better, snatching moments together at art exhibitions and in ethnic neighborhoods, the film acerbically suggests that repressive traditions could be outpaced by a modern world of smartphones and social networking, even if there is still a ways to go.
"This easygoing crowd-pleaser is automatically rendered rich and strange by its unlikely origins." Neil Young, The Hollywood Reporter
|Original Language Title:||Barakah yoqabil Barakah|
|Running Time:||88 minutes|
|Premier Status:||US Premiere|
|Awards:||Prize of the Ecumenical Jury, Berlinale 2016|
|Principal Cast:||Hisham Fageeh, Fatima Al Banawi, Sami Hifny, Khairia Nazmi|
|Editor:||Sofía Subercaseaux, Daniel Garcia|
|Music:||Zeid Hamdan, Mai Waleed|
|International Sales Company:||MPM Film|