ALT | International Shorts
Precious’ childhood dreams of a happy marriage and family life run headlong into patriarchal repression in a male-dominated society. Precious is a powerful and poetic encapsulation of the state of male-female relations in Saudi Arabia these days, where the patriarchy still holds power—but change is coming… slowly and reluctantly. There is nothing new about this subject matter (patriarchal repression, chauvinistic ideals, religious oppression), but hearing it from a woman’s perspective has so much impact and a vibrant vitality. Made as part of the 3rd season of Qomrah, a Saudi Arabian TV show showcasing short films (with an imposed six-minute time limit) from up-and-coming filmmakers in the Middle East, Precious constantly amazes. The visually spellbinding montage editing and layering of images are capped by a brilliant performance by Marwa Al Hussein that captures the repressed emotion, internalized depression and anger as she realizes that her husband is only concerned about his honour and reputation.
"The film brings into question many aspects of Saudi culture that have become increasingly problematic in modern-day society. These include pre-arranged marriage, the male ego in a patriarchal society, as well as society’s expectations of how one should conduct themselves and the negative effects these pressures have on marital relationships. It is a story very much specific to Saudi identity but the core of the issue is the need to fit in, and this is something people of all walks of life can relate to."—Mohammed Hammad