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Institute of Contemporary Arts

Scales, dir. Shahad Ameen, Saudi Arabia-United Arab Emirates-Iraq 2019, 75 min. English subtitles

Likely to become known as the Saudi mermaid movie, Scales achieves far more than this description whilst laying claim to being the most unlikely drama you’ll see this year. Shahad Ameen’s directorial debut is a visually resplendent tale set in a small Gulf fishing village. Its population live in thrall to the otherworldly creatures they believe reside in the sea. So much so that to keep them pacified, the village has traditionally sacrificed its female children to the creatures. But the drama really begins when one of those girls, Hayat (which means ‘life’ in Arabic), rejects her fate and fights against the patriarchal hegemony. It is a measure of the film’s quality that what follows both stands on its own merits as a fantastic tale, while also allowing for bountiful metaphorical interpretations on the standing of women in Arab society.
01:00 pm
Thu, 10 Oct 2019
Cinema 1

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