The Perfect Candidate

by Haifaa Al Mansour

The Perfect Candidate


Maryam is an ambitious young doctor working in a small town clinic in Saudi Arabia. Despite her qualifications, she has to earn the respect of male colleagues and acceptance from her patients every day. After Maryam is prevented from traveling to Dubai in search of a better job, a bureaucratic mixup leads her to stumble on the application for her local city elections and she decides to run. With her musician father away on tour playing the first public concerts allowed in the Kingdom in decades, Maryam enlists her two younger sisters to begin fundraising and planning campaign events. While they face the restriction of women’s traditional roles in the Kingdom at every turn, Maryam’s audacious candidacy starts to build momentum and challenges her conservative community. A tight race emerges between Maryam and her male opponent, as Maryam and her family mobilise their determination and creativity to move their traditional society forward.


Haifaa Al Mansour finished her bachelor’s degree in Literature at the American University in Cairo and completed a Master’s degree in Directing and Film Studies from the University of Sydney. She is considered the first female filmmaker in Saudi Arabia and her feature film WADJDA (2012) was the first international film ever to be shot inside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Invited to over 40 festivals worldwide, WADJDA garnered numerous awards - among others in Venice, Rotterdam, and Dubai.


2019: The Perfect Candidate
2017: Nappily Ever After
2016: Mary Shelley
2012: Wadjda
2005: Women Without Shadows (short)


Mila Alzahrani: Maryam
Dhay: Selma
Khalid Abdulrahim: Abdulaziz
Sha Al Harthy: Mohammed


Directed by: Haifaa Al Mansour
Written by: Haifaa Al Mansour, Brad Niemann
Director of Photography: Patrick Orth
Editor: Andreas Wodraschke, BFS
Composer: Volker Bertelmann
Sound Designer: Sebastian Schmidt
Re-Recording Mixer: Olaf Mehl
Recording Mixer: Uve Haußig
Costume Designer: Heike Fademrecht
Makeup Artist: Dorothea Wiedermann
Production Manager: Ole Nicolaisen
Production Accountant: Iris Karmaat
Production Designer: Olivier Meidinger, ADC - VSK
Produced by: Roman Paul, Gerhard Meixner, Haifaa Al Mansour, Brad Niemann

Technical Data

format DCP / colour / 5.1
length 101 min. approx
original language Arabic

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