'Norah' will be the first Saudi film to ever be screened at Cannes Film Festival

'Norah' will be the first Saudi film to ever be screened at Cannes Film Festival

Set during a time when cinema was banned in the Kingdom, Norah is gaining further international acclaim and continues to pave the way for Saudi film worldwide
15 April 24
Image source: IG festivaldecannes

'Norah' has been a boundary breaking production since its conception: it was the first feature film to be shot in its entirety in AlUla — a first in the region and film industry — and was created by a wholly Saudi Arabian cast, crew with the concept developed and directed by a Riyadh-born creative.

And now, the film is set to make waves at the 77th edition of the Cannes Film Festival this summer.

Directed by Tawfik Alzaidi, Norah is the perfect example of the Kingdom's homegrown talent in the film industry and the region's burgeoning appetite for film, and further solidifies Saudi Arabia's standing as a hub for film-making at a global standing.

Recognised on a national level in December 2023, the locally made feature film not only debuted at the illustrious Red Sea International Film Festival infront of a crowd of globally recognised celebrities and film professionals, the motion picture was also awarded the title and prize of Best Saudi Film.

This summer in Europe, Norah will be featured in the illustrious film festival's 'Un Certain Regard' category, alongside 19 other global entries. Established in 1978, this category serves as a platform to spotlight emerging talents and unconventional storytelling.

From May 14 to 25, the south of France (and the world beyond) will celebrate the 77th edition of the prestigious Cannes Film Festival; numerous international celebrities will be in attendance and the festival will premiere an array of films from acclaimed directors such as Francis Ford Coppola, Yorgos Lanthimos, and Paul Schrader.

Norah follows the journey of Nader in 1990s Saudi Arabia: a new teacher in a remote village, Nader meets Norah. The pair's meeting sparks an awakening of artistic passion within both, as Nader discovers his creativity and Norah finds the world beyond her village. The film explores their soulful connection and the life-altering impact it has on their artistic spirits, and their thinking.

The film stars the incredible talents of Yaqoub Alfarhan, Maria Bahrawi, and Abdullah Alsadhan.

After almost a decade of film-making endeavours in the Kingdom, this is a significant moment for both the nation, and of course for Tawfik Alzaidi. With numerous accolades already under its belt, Norah will forever be associated with earning a coveted spot at the Cannes Film Festival - making history.

Cannes Film Festival, May 14 - 25