Saudi Arabia and the Transformative Power of Art w/ Tawfik Alzaidi

Listen to our podcast conversation with Tawfik Alzaidi, director of Norah from the 2024 Cannes Film Festival.

In the latest episode of Showcast, TFV’s Matt Micucci engages in a conversation with director Tawfik Alzaidi regarding his debut feature film Norah. This film, part of the Un Certain Regard section at the 2024 Cannes Film Festival, achieved a historic milestone as the first Saudi feature included in the festival’s official selection.

Norah is set in the 1990s, a period when artistic expression was restricted, and follows Nader, a new teacher and clandestine artist, who is posted to a remote Saudi Arabian village for his inaugural teaching assignment. Here, he develops a bond with a young woman whose life is constrained by the prevailing conservatism of the era.

Despite language barriers, this podcast conversation provides a valuable glimpse into the advancements in Saudi Arabia’s cinematic storytelling and artistic expression in recent years. In this episode, we not only delve into the director’s interest in exploring this specific period of Saudi history but also discuss some of its key thematic elements.

Additionally, Norah holds the distinction of being the first feature film entirely shot in the historical AlUla region, which is something else we discuss over the course of this interview, as well as the challenges Alzaidi faced in making his landmark first feature film.

Featured image courtesy of TwentyOne Entertainment

  • A poster of the 2024 AVP Summit, which took place in Reggio Calabria, Italy.
    Image: AVP Summit

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