Scales Review: A Feminist Fable High on Metaphorical Imagery

Scales Review: A Feminist Fable High on Metaphorical Imagery
Scales is the latest in a movement of feminist cinema coming from Saudi Arabia, in the wake of great work done by Haifaa Al-Mansour (whose excellent The Perfect Candidate was released earlier this year). In her first feature, writer-director Shahad Ameen proves herself a force behind the camera with stunning black-and-white photography and poetic imagery guiding us through the tale of a young girl’s struggle for liberation—yet at a lean 75 minutes, there’s not quite enough meat on the bones to leave a lasting impression.

Basima Hajjar plays the strong and silent heroine, Hayat, a young girl who, at least to begin with, passively accepts the patriarchal society in which she’s grown up. In the alternate reality Ameen has created, the waters around the small fishing village Hayat lives in are filled with sea maidens. Every family must sacrifice one of their daughters to placate them, ensuring
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