Saudi director Mahmoud Sabbagh first made headlines in 2016 with his debut film Barakah Meets Barakah making it to the Oscars as the Kingdom’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film. This year, the Jeddah-born filmmaker is back in with his newest feature, Amra and The Second Marriage.
The film, which was entirely shot in Saudi Arabia, has already been at the receiving hand of critical acclaim a month after its release. Tickets at its London premiere in early October sold out, and by the looks of it, audiences across the region are equally excited to watch the film at Cairo International Film Festival this weekend.
Considering its success, and with Saudi Arabia having lifted restrictions on cinemas early this year, Amra and The Second Marriage could go on to make history by becoming the first Saudi film to be screened in theatres across the conservative Kingdom.
“This film was approved by a governmental body, so I’m hoping now with the building of cinemas, it will be shown,” said Sabbagh about the possibility.
Much like his first film, the dark comedy was made for Saudi audiences, putting the focus on cultural and social nuances specific to the nation and neighbouring countries. The film tells the tale of a 44-year-old Saudi housewife, who discovers that her husband has set his eyes on marrying much younger second wife.
Having only had daughters, Amra, is pressured by her mother-in-law who is eager for a grandson, and considers tolerating her husband’s decision—until the economic realities settle in and force her to revaluate the situation.