Whether starring Middle Eastern actresses or telling the stories of Arab women, these shows and films should be on your saved list.

It may only be mid-March, but we’re very aware that summer is coming.

In a few short months, we’ll be relegated to weekends spent indoors, chugging ice-cream and binge-watching TV shows as temperatures nudge 50 degrees Celsius outside.

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In anticipation, we’re already planning our summer viewing—and we’ll be starting with a selection of shows and films focused around women of the region.

 

Netflix might currently be developing its first original Arabic series, but it’s not the only programme starring females from the Arab world.

Here, we’ve rounded up what to add to your saved list from the online entertainment giant.

Very Big Shot

Very Big Shot

This 2015 drug-smuggling escapade is from Lebanese director Mir-Jean Bou Chaaya (who, incidentally, will be helming Netflix’s aforementioned Arabic series Jinn). The dark comedy focuses on three brothers, who use the making of a movie as a front to smuggle narcotics. 

Starring Alain Saadeh, Fouad Yammine and Tarek Yaacoub in lead roles, the film also features Lebanese actress Alexandra Kahwagi as Alya, the wife of fictional film-maker Charbel.

Blessed Benefit

Blessed Benefit

This 2016 drama-comedy directed by Jordan’s Mahmoud al Massad tells the story of a construction worker who ends up in jail after being wrongfully convicted of fraud. While behind bars, he learns to appreciate some of the liberties afforded to him in prison.

Ahmad Thaher plays the principal role, with Kuwait-born actress and scriptwriter Yasmine Mustafa (who’s lived in Jordan, Australia, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon) also among the cast.

Collateral

Collateral

Saudi Arabian actress Ahd Kamel wowed in acclaimed 2012 film Wadjda, and now she’s starring in this 2018 thriller co-produced by the BBC. The Jeddah-raised actress plays Muslim woman Fatma in the mini series, which charts the repercussions following the fatal shooting of a pizza delivery man in London.

As well as Kamel, the show stars Oscar winner Carey Mulligan, Billie Piper and John Simm, working from a script by award-winning playwright Sir David Hare.

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Speed Sisters

Speed Sister

This critically acclaimed 2015 documentary lifts the lid on the first all-woman race car driving team in the Middle East, who tear up tracks all over Palestine. The five-woman-strong force talk about their lives on and off the road, as well as showcase their fearless driving for the cameras.

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