Scales [Sayidat Al Bahr] (2019)

Shahad Ameen
Scales [Sayidat Al Bahr] (still)
Digital video, black and white, sound
75 minutes
Produced by Image Nation Abu Dhabi
Image courtesy of Image Nation Abu Dhabi


Set in a dystopian landscape, Scales is the story of Hayat, a strong-willed young girl who lives in a poor fishing village governed by a dark tradition. Every family must give one daughter to the sea creatures who inhabit the waters nearby. In turn, the sea creatures are hunted by the men of the village. Saved from this fate by her father, Hayat is considered a curse on the village and grows up an outcast. Nevertheless, she does not surrender to this fate and fights for a place within her village. After her mother gives birth to a baby boy, Hayat must accept the brutal custom of giving herself to the sea creatures or find a way to escape.

Described by The Hollywood Reporter as a‘a timeless magical realist fable with a contemporary feminist message’, Scales screened at a number of festivals, including the Los Angeles New Wave International Film Festival (2019). The film has received the Verona Film Club Award in the Critics’ Week competition, 76th Venice International Film Festival (2019); Sutherland Award at the BFI Film Festival, London (2019); Bronze Tanit at the Carthage Film Festival (2019); Best Film and Best Director awards at the Rabat International Author Film Festival (2019); and Best Asian Feature, 30th Singapore International Film Festival (2019). The film was also a nominee in the Horizons of New Arab Cinema Competition, Cairo International Film Festival (2019).

Screening Information

Scales [Sayidat Al Bahr] (2019)
Director: Shahad Ameen
UAE, Iraq, KSA
Narrative | 75 minutes
Arabic with English subtitles

This film is screened in collaboration with Habibi Collective and presented by Image Nation Abu Dhabi. The film will be screened at 8:30 pm on 26 June through the Image Nation Abu Dhabi platform. To access the livestream, viewers should register before the screening time through the link below.

As the film cannot be streamed on demand, viewers who join the streaming after 8:30 pm will not be able to watch the film from the beginning.

Please note that the screening is accessible only to viewers in the GCC.

The screening will be followed by a live discussion and Q&A session with the director of the film, Shahad Ameen, and the Habibi Collective founder, Róisín Tapponi. The discussion and Q&A session will be available on Zoom, also through the screening link below.

Click here to access the film as well as the live discussion and Q&A session.

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