In a proud moment for Arab cinema, a fantasy film made in UAE will have its world premiere at the renowned Venice Film Festival. The film named Scales (Sayidat Al Bahr in Arabic) is created by Image Nation Abu Dhabi and directed by Saudi-Arabian filmmaker Shahad Ameen. She is known for her short film Eye & Mermaid which premiered at the Dubai Film Festival in 2013 and was nominated for Best Short Film at the Stockholm Film Festival.
Scales tells the story of a young girl named Hayat, who lives in a village where sacrificing female children to mysterious sea creatures is a tradition. When it is time for her to be sacrificed, she rejects the tradition to make her own path.
“Scales tells a visceral story about growing up as a woman in a patriarchal society, offering an allegorical take on a universal theme that will resonate with audiences around the world,” said Ameen in a statement according to The National. “Relying on simple yet powerful storytelling, it is a very visual experience with minimal dialogue – maintaining a timeless, meditative aspect even in its action scenes. I want to immerse viewers in Hayat’s journey from her own point of view, letting them share in her experience as she finds her true self.”
The Arab arthouse film was shot on location in Oman and is said to showcase the changing role of women in society within a world of fantasy. It is slated to premiere next month as part of the Venice Critics’ Week competition.
In a statement, said Ben Ross, chief content officer at Image Nation said, “This nuanced, artistic project embraces film’s power to address important subjects like freedom and belonging,”
“Scales is part of Image Nation’s efforts to expand our slate to encompass more intriguing, specialty films alongside our more commercial projects. We foresee that Scales will be well-received on the festival circuit. This is a film that brings profound insights into contemporary culture. We hope that it will bring further recognition of the region’s growing maturity and sophistication.”