Meet Saudi Arabia’s Groundbreaking (Female) Filmmaker

by Peter D. Marshall

by Katie Van Syckle.

It’s eight p.m. in Bahrain, and the squeals of children resisting sleep can be heard upstairs at the Al-Mansour/Neimann house. Saudi Arabian filmmaker Haifaa Al-Mansour’s husband Bradley Neimann, an American diplomat, is attempting to goad Adam, 5, and Hailey, 3, into bed after a long day of cupcake-decorating and playdates.

“I used to get more [death] threats,” says their mother, talking to me over Skype downstairs. “Saudi was more conservative, now it’s changing. People aren’t as militant.”

But Saudi Arabia is still a country ruled by Sharia law. In public, women are segregated by gender, and must be accompanied by a male guardian. They are required to wear a full-body black cloak, or abaya, and are forbidden to drive cars. All of which is to say that 39-year-old Al-Mansour’s first feature film, Wadjda —  shot quietly, and entirely, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia — is no small triumph.

Read the rest of this article from NY Mag.

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