With her passport about to expire and plans for her arranged marriage well underway, Muna, a young Saudi woman decides to risk everything by trying to leave Saudi Arabia’s male-dominated culture.
…a white knuckle ride that will leave you breathless as it plays out.
Shot exclusively on her smartphone, ‘Saudi Runaway’ is a window into a desperate escape. Veiled head to toe in public, we see Muna and her mother move through Saudi Arabia’s aisles of western consumerism. Whereas men can dress freely and everything from shoes to electronic goods is for sale, the right to a woman’s independent opinion is not. Where every major decision hinges on that of a man, be it her father or her pre-arranged husband-to-be, Muna feels that her future has curtailed before it has even started.
Further evidenced later in the film by Muna’s little brother’s offhand comment of “I’m so glad I’m not a girl”, Muna makes a life-changing choice – to flee. On the honeymoon of her upcoming wedding in Abu Dhabi, she will have a short, theoretical window to get to the airport before anybody realises. However, at every turn, there will be barriers and the constant fear of exposure in a society that controls women completely.
In documenting every step of her intended deceit, the tension is unrelenting. Secretly uploading her phone footage every night to director Susanne Regina Meures, we see try on a bridal dress that will only ever be worn once whilst her mother reassures her to “be obedient and everything will be fine”. Yet, in the background is Muna’s father. In a culture where beating your wife or children is not only acceptable by condoned by the state, Muna is taking a life-threatening risk.
Made by Muna as an example for other girls growing up in Saudi Arabia, ‘Saudi Runaway’ is a white knuckle ride that will leave you breathless as it plays out. At only 80 minutes, the tension of this brave film will play so much longer in your memory and as such it well worth your time in chasing it down.