‘Mary Shelley’: The First Female Saudi Arabian Filmmaker Brings ‘Frankenstein’ Back to Life


This post is by Emily Buder from No Film School


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Haifaa al-Mansour, the first Saudi-Arabian female director, tells the story of the mother of sci-fi.


Science fiction is often regarded as a male-dominated genre. But as history would have it, the first science-fiction novel was written by a woman—and a very young woman at that. Her name was Mary Shelley, and at age 21, she wrote Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus (1818).



200 years later, Shelley’s story is now being told by another pioneering feminist: Haifaa al-Mansour, the first female Saudi-Arabian filmmaker. Her 2012 film, Wadjda, about a young girl wants to buy a bicycle even though it is illegal for women to do so, was also the first feature shot entirely inside Saudi Arabia.

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