Joud – A film that journeys into the heart of Saudi Arabia

Joud – A film that journeys into the heart of Saudi Arabia – words Alexa Wang

Joud is a film, currently showing at Cannes, which looks at the landscapes and spirit of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is a desert kingdom and has often been an elusive and mysterious place for many of us in the west.

Yes, it is mainly desert but there is a varied flora and fauna here. Did you know there are lakes in Saudi Arabia or that underneath the desert are vast cave systems and fresh water?


Joud is an immersive journey through an Arabian culture experiencing high-speed metamorphoses. It is visually dramatic and helps gives you some of the flavour and atmosphere of the dramatic kingdom. Saudi Arabia has of course gone through a dramatic transformation over recent decades. Driven by oil revenues the country has seen ultra-modern cities rise from the sands and technology helping to shape the country’s future. Deep resources of fresh water has been discovered that help to give new life to this desert bound country.

There is a contrast, and sometimes even conflict, between this modernity and the heartfelt traditions of old. The film interweaves all these elements into a sensory experience that helps us examine and to feel the emotions that sometimes work in tandem but sometimes rub against each other in this complex country. We see below the surface of everyday life and see some of its soul. The film is non-narrative and music driven. JOUD gets to the heart of the human experience and takes advantage of the rich diversity found in the kingdom to capture contrasting, bold imagery for a revealing insight into a place in the grip of change.

JOUD is Arabic for “giving in the face of scarcity, without expecting anything in return” and the film is based on the Qasida. This is an ancient pre-Islamic poem structure and JOUD delves into humanity through a blend of history, modernity and the extraordinary, following different characters in diverse locations within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It reveals a different side to the country little seen before on film.

JOUD premiered this week at the Cannes Film Festival. For more information see www.joudmovie.com. A trailer is available to view at https://youtu.be/0lteRAvkbI0

JOUD is produced by Abdullah Aleyaf and Todd Albert Nims for Ithra in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia (www.ithra.com), in association with UK’s The Edge Picture Company’s production team.

Joud – A film that journeys into the heart of Saudi Arabia – words Alexa Wang

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