Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.

Saudi Film ‘Norah’ Earns Special Mention at Cannes

It is the first Saudi Arabian film to be officially selected for the prestigious festival

Tawfik Alzaidi’s film Norah has received a Special Mention from the Cannes jury in the Un Certain Regard category. The nomination of Norah is particularly noteworthy as it is the first Saudi Arabian film to be officially selected for the prestigious festival.

The director, along with the film’s cast and crew, took to the stage to accept the accolade in front of a packed audience. The Un Certain Regard category, established in 1978, runs alongside the festival’s renowned Palme d’Or competition and aims to recognize emerging talent and unconventional narratives.

Set in 1990s Saudi Arabia, Norah tells a story about the transformative power of art. Written and directed by Alzaidi, it is the first Saudi feature film shot entirely in the AlUla region. The film follows its titular character, Norah, portrayed by Saudi newcomer Maria Bahrawi. Norah is an illiterate orphan in a remote village, facing an arranged marriage. Her encounter with Nader, an artist turned school teacher played by Saudi star Yaqoub Alfarhan, awakens in her a deep passion for art and a desire for a life beyond her village.

Filmed in AlUla, a vast expanse of Saudi desert and ancient city ruins, Norah received praise and financial backing from the Saudi Film Commission’s Daw Film Competition, an initiative launched in 2019 to support Saudi film talent and production. Also produced by Alzaidi, along with Paul Miller and Sharif Majali, Norah is a collaborative effort between Saudi production companies Black Sugar Pictures and Nebras Films.

In December, global rights to Norah were acquired by TwentyOne Entertainment, a new Riyadh-based company founded by former Universal Pictures executive Paul Chesney. This deal highlights the film’s international appeal and the growing recognition of Saudi talent in the global film industry.

Share this article

Related stories