“Barakah meets Barakah” by Mahmoud Sabbagh

This article is also available in: Italiano

A film that surprised us with its sweetness and good taste, giving us more hope for the cinema of the Gulf. Barakah meets Barakah is the story of two young people in love in today’s Saudi Arabia and their difficulties in starting a “normal” relationship.

Barakah meets Barakah

Barakah is a member of the religious police who go around Jeddah issuing fines for minor offenses. Bibi is using carefully cropped Instagram videos to rack up millions of likes for her cutting-edge and eco-friendly female empowerment messages. The two like each other, but finding an appropriate place to meet face to face and also share a moment together proves difficult due to Saudi Arabia’s strict public policies.

Love in the time of the Saudis

Sabbagh’s film takes us to discover the country beyond stereotypes, showing the problems of living a relationship in this country. In addition to personal difficulties, in fact, there are also the objective ones of finding a suitable place. Due to the stringent laws, the two will struggle not a little even just to find a place to talk face-to-face, giving way to very nice situations. In fact, the film manages to ironize on very heavy themes, never ceasing to make social denunciation, but without giving up a smile.


Barakah’s reflections on the country during the ’80s will also be very interesting, very different from what we observe today;

A good film

In the past we have criticized Gulf films such as The Worthy and Justice for this strange mania for imitating US blockbusters without a soul; this is absolutely not the case. Barakah meets Barakah manages to be very sweet without ever being honey, ironic without being a boor and, above all, to have a big heart. This film is “real” and, unlike the others, it really manages to take you to Saudi Arabia, without however bringing the States there.


What the two protagonists feel, the characters that surround them and even the air they breathe, are absolutely Saudi, but from all this a beautiful love comedy emerges, absolutely at American levels. It seems absurd, but the path traced by this film is destined to change the filmography of the region. For the first time we are witnessing the birth of a local cinema, something that, due to the many failed attempts, seemed unthinkable. Absolutely Ramadan friendly, you can find it on Netflix.

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