Amra and the second marriage is the latest offering of art-house Saudi writer/director Mahmoud Sabbagh. The film, which stars Saudi actors Mohammad Alhamdan, Alshaima’a Tayeb, and Khairia Nazmi, was shot entirely in the Kingdom and tells the story of the titular Amra and her desperation and grit when it is announced her husband will take a second, younger wife in the hope she will bear him a son (as Amra has only produced girls, the bitch).
The film melds old and new together, the women of the compound urging Amra to really round the new bride, help with the wedding and stop wailing (she never wails). The ‘new guard’ from Riyadh urge Amra to come to the capital and seek divorce, be the new modern Saudi woman. And a life coach from New York whom Amra seeks out online tells her to lift her head from the sand. I won’t spoil what Amra does in the end but you can’t help but applaud her.
It takes a while to get into the groove of Amra and the Second Marriage but once you do it is great fun. Despite the heavily depressing subject Sabbagh has (and intentionally as he has said in interviews) kept it light and infused the film with hyper reality which all helps with some of the content that makes one want to fly to Saudi Arabia and punch a load of men in the face. Maybe that’s just me.
Anyway, Amra and the Second Marriage is great fun and the central performances are all great, particularly Alshaima’a Tayeb who pays Amra, it is her first film and she is wonderful and one to watch I’d say.