In a video interview with Awards Daily, Shahad Ameen discusses her feature directorial debut, Scales. The dystopian drama marks Saudi Arabia’s fourth-ever submission in the history of the Oscars.
Scales takes place in an unnamed dystopian desert, in a village where each family must sacrifice a daughter to the mysterious creatures of the sea. The film is done entirely in black and white, the lack of color further enhancing the mystery and accentuating the characters’ desperation. In just 75 minutes director Shahad Ameen has managed to create a world rich in detail — its construction rivaling that of any marquee blockbuster. Scales is a story packed with meaning and symbolism—a girl fighting against the literal and metaphorical systems designed to keep her in her place. The film demands an open mind, and in return, delivers a riveting tale of heroism. Operating both as a straight-forward thriller and as a vessel for broader social commentary, Scales subverts expectations and offers a sharp critique of patriarchal society.
Scales is a stunning debut feature from Ameen, her filmmaking prowess evident from the film’s first frame onward. To try to summarize what Ameen has achieved in just a few sentences feels like a disservice to her nuanced and emotional film. I can only urge you to seek out Scales and support the work of this emerging filmmaker.
To learn more about Scales, watch our interview with the director Shahad Ameen: