Saudi film to open Jerusalem Women’s Film Festival

It is seen as another step toward normalizing relations between Israel and the Gulf states.

By World Israel News Staff

A Saudi film will be the opening film screened at the Jerusalem Women’s Film Festival this December, the Israeli Foreign Ministry announced on Monday.

“Haifa al-Mansour’s film [“The Perfect Candidate”] will be screened in the Israel Women’s Film Festival that will be held in Jerusalem next month,” the ministry said on Twitter.

“The Saudi film won the Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival and represents Saudi Arabia in the Oscars,” it added.

“The Perfect Candidate,” directed by Saudi director Haifaa Al-Mansour, will be screened first at the Festival in select theaters throughout Jerusalem. After the festival ends, it will be shown at theaters throughout the country

The film was in the running for the Golden Lion award at the 76th Venice International Film Festival and was nominated for Best Film at the 2019 London Film Festival.

According to IMDb, on online database of such information, the movie is about how a determined young Saudi doctor’s surprise run for office in the local city elections sweeps up her family and community as they struggle to accept their town’s first female candidate.

The announcement of the showing of the movie in the Jewish State is seen as demonstrating another step toward normalizing relations between Israel and Arab Gulf states.

The Gulf states have given less voice to their traditional antipathy toward Israel as they have grown increasingly fearful of Iran over its involvement in Syria and other regional conflicts and its support for various armed groups.

Saudi Arabia, long rumored to have backdoor ties with Israel, lifted a decades-long ban on the use of its airspace for flights to Israel last spring, allowing India’s national carrier to cross its skies. The leaders of the small Gulf nation of Bahrain have also expressed willingness to normalize relations.

In October 2018, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a surprise visit to Oman, meeting that Gulf state’s leader in the first visit of its kind in over 20 years.