Saudi Director Haifaa Al-Mansour Directs Feminist Film for Miu Miu
The Saudi director on vanity and femininity for Women’s Tales
Sarah Ben Romdane
As part of the Venice Film Festival’s Giornate degli Autori program, Miu Miu presented The Wedding Singer’s Daughter, directed by Saudi director Haifaa Al-Mansour, the 16th commission from Women’s Tales (the brand’s acclaimed short-film series that invites fierce and original female directors to investigate vanity and femininity in the 21st century).
Set in 1980’s Riyadh, the film explores Saudi Arabia’s patriarchal and segregated society by following a group of women at a wedding, all dressed up glamorously under their abayas, unseen by the male gaze. Suddenly, the electricity cuts out while all eyes are on the wedding’s singer, played by Saudi pop-singer Rotana Tarabzouni. The film then focuses on the singer’s young daughter who despite the scornful judgments, tries to save her mother’s dignity.
“Weddings are the actual mirror of society in Saudi Arabia”, says Al-Mansour before adding, “For me, the little girl represents the future. And the future belongs to outsiders”.
Saudi Arabia’s first cinema opened in April for the first time in 35 years, as part of crown prince Mohamed bin Salman’s modernisation plan. As the kingdom undergoes social reforms offering more freedom to women, Al-Mansour – who became the first Saudi female director with the release of her 2012 drama Wadjda – is returning to Saudi to shoot The Perfect Candidate, her first feature to be supported by the new national Saudi Film Council which follows the story of a female physician who runs for office in the municipal elections.