Saudi Women's Driving School (2019) Movie Script

I remember arriving here
and seeing Lady Liberty.
She represents everything
that has to be protected.
A present from the French people
to the American people.
WOMAN: Give me your tired...
MAN 2: We all have
an immigration story.
WOMAN 2: She's being used
all the time for protests.
WOMAN: Your huddled masses...
MAN 3: People from all over
the world are coming here,
and they want to see her.
(distant vehicles honking)
Woman: Without freedom,
you can't feel like
you're a human being.
You will feel like
you're a thing,
you are not a person.
The Ministry of the Interior
would like to announce
to all citizens and residents
that all women are absolutely
prohibited from driving cars
in the Kingdom
of Saudi Arabia.
It added, any woman
who violates this regulation
will be penalized.
(honks horn)
Newsman: Saudi women staged
an unprecedented demonstration
to demand the right
to drive cars,
like women in every
other Arab country.
(women speaking English)
(speaking Arabic)
Hear this:
Saudi Arabia has just announced
it will allow women
to drive cars.
Newsman 2:
Saudi Arabia was
the only country
to have a ban on women driving.
The change will take effect
in June of next year.
At least ten women's rights
activists were arrested.
Some were released,
others branded as traitors
in pro-government papers.
(cameras clicking)
(man speaking Arabic)
(cheering, laughing)
(cheering, whistling)
Today, I'm
an independent person.
-(horns beep)
(woman speaking Arabic)
(indistinct chatter)
(woman speaking Arabic)
(indistinct chatter)
Oh! I like it.
(speaking Arabic)
(woman speaking Arabic)
(speaking Arabic)
(woman speaking Arabic)
(speaking Arabic)
(speaking Arabic)
(woman speaking in Arabic)
(Amal-al-Jaber speaking Arabic)
(nearby horn beeps)
(speaking Arabic)
(Amal speaking Arabic)
(gear selector clicks)
(Raed speaking Arabic)
(Mohammed speaking Arabic)
(Muhammad speaking Arabic)
(Amal speaking Arabic)
(man reciting the Koran over PA)
In Saudi Arabia in the past,
the restriction on women
were extremely difficult.
(indistinct chattering)
Men and women cannot be
in the same office.
Wherever there is a chance
that a man and a woman
can mix in an office,
that sector was not a place
for women to join.
They cannot be treated
in the same hospital surgery.
They cannot go
to the same university.
They cannot go
to the same school.
Even for entertainment.
If they want to go
to a restaurant,
usually there is a curtain
separating the men
and the women.
But all these kind
of segregated spaces
are now collapsing.
Women can now go
to football matches,
they can go to concerts,
and now we see
that Saudi women are allowed
to enter public spaces
where men work or are present.
During the economic wealth
associated with oil,
there wasn't a great
pressure on women
to go out of their way
and seek jobs.
However, as these
economic resources
begin to dwindle,
and we are living
in the post-oil economy,
now it has become important
for women to actually get jobs.
(Shahad speaking Arabic)
Saudi Arabia is
an absolute monarchy.
The king is the supreme leader.
He can decide on everything...
(speaking Arabic)
Madawi: ...from the status
of women to foreign relations.
(speaking Arabic)
Madawi: The red line is
always going to be crossed
if someone mentions the king
or the Crown Prince
Mohammad bin Salman,
in a negative way.
Citizens do not have
freedom of speech.
We got kids with us.
We've got a very safe, capable
driver behind the wheel.
Just stay cool.
speaking Arabic)
(man speaking Arabic)
(Loujain laughs)
(man speaks Arabic)
Many people are confused,
inside Saudi Arabia
and outside it,
about why we have an openness
unprecedented in
the history of the country,
but at the same time,
there is this sort of repression
that is taking place
across the board.
And many people
ask the question
why this is happening.
And the answer
to this question is
that this is
an absolute monarchy
that does not want
to give credit to anybody,
apart from itself,
when it comes to social,
economic, and political change.
(Shahad speaking Arabic)
(camel bellowing)
(race cars buzzing)
(engine revs)
(woman speaking English)
I started driving
when I was 13 years old.
I really wanted to take myself
and my family around.
Uh, and I told my mom
the idea and she liked it
and she was
I was disguising
as a young boy.
Uh, when I hide my hair,
I look like a guy,
so it was really easy for me.
I was so afraid.
I used to scream a lot
because of Amjad,
and she was driving
so... so bad.
But after that, I used to, uh...
they used me as a--
-you know the--
-The reverse sensor.
-The reverse sensor.
So, I look out the back...
-...and I make sure no cars...
-There's no cars there.
-She's like okay,
"You can go, you can pass."
-Fadia: You can go, come on.
(race car engines buzzing)
I started racing, actually,
after I joined
Formula Student team
in my university.
I wanted to be
the driver so bad
because they were
all females in the team.
They were only looking
for males to be drivers,
so I wanted to prove them wrong.
(chattering in Arabic)
I really like competitions,
especially if it's, uh,
if it's include beating guys.
(engine revving)
(tires screech)
(woman speaking Arabic)
Actually, it's very scary.
There is black smoke
right there because
the yellow car, it is on fire.
The driver got out of the car,
thank God,
and now the recovery team
are in working,
and he's safe.
(indistinct chatter)
Every time I see
an accident like this,
I realize how dangerous
this sport is.
But my sister is brave.
She know what she is doing,
and I trust her.
(speaking Arabic)
(birds chirping)
(Sarah's mother speaking Arabic)
(timer beeps)
(Sarah speaking Arabic)
(speaks Arabic)
(Sarah speaks)
(horn honks)
(speaks Arabic)
(both laughing)
(gear selector clicks)
(patrons chattering)
(speaking Arabic)
(indistinct chattering)
(horns honk)
-(man speaks)
-(Shahad speaks)
(speaking Arabic)
The right to drive is important
for working women
and for all women
who choose to drive.
But it is not enough
to think that the ambition
of Saudi women
will stop at the wheel.
The Guardianship system
is one of
the critical restrictions
that women face
in Saudi Arabia.
It is a mix of social
and cultural values
and a set of religious
specific to Saudi Arabia
that give women
less power than men
when it comes to deciding on
important issues in their life.
(horns honking)
The Guardianship system
dictates that women are minors
even if they are adults.
Usually, when a father dies,
the Guardian
becomes the brother.
If a woman gets married,
then the husband
is her Guardian.
If she's divorced
or the husband dies,
then her son becomes
her Guardian.
(man speaking Arabic)
(Fahad speaking Arabic)
(race car buzzing)
(indistinct chattering)
(speaking Arabic)
(horn beeps)
(race car buzzing)
I'm fascinated by speed
and I really enjoy
beating people.
(engine roaring)
I have big ambitions.
I'm really...
dreaming of winning
a world championship.
(engine roaring)
It's really crazy,
but I believe
that's gonna happen one day.
I believe it's
possible because...
everything we thought
it was impossible,
it's actually happened,
so why not?
(engine roaring)
-Man 1: Which one?
The white one? The white?
-Man 2: Step back!
He said we can't film this.
She's fine, thank, uh,
thank God. She's fine.
(indistinct chattering)
What happened, it was
snap oversteer,
it happens with every driver,
and for me, this was a lesson.
It's really
an interesting experience
because now I learned how
to overcome such accidents
and problems in the future.
-(audience applauding)
-(drone buzzing)
(speaking Arabic)
(cheering, applauding)
(applause continuing)
When I win,
I feel really great.
A girl in the podium is--
was my dream, actually.
I feel so powerful.
I feel great. I feel like...
it's really happening.
I'm in the future. (laughs)
(camera clicks)
I think me and...
everyone in Saudi Arabia
is so optimistic
uh, because we're all
sensing all the changes.
Saudi women are creative.
Saudi women are doing
very great jobs,
and they are now doctors,
they are scientists, they're...
They are many huge things.
We're going forward.
We're improving. Uh...
(clears throat)
The thing is,
I don't want to show
uh, that everything is fine
-when it's not fine.
-Because we have many problems--
But we don't want to show
the problems and...
Uh, we don't want to be
very dreamy
about the situation
here in Saudi Arabia,
but we want to be realistic.
We have a different
culture from...
uh, from all the countries.
There are some
females who can't
do whatever they want to do
because of their families.
The problem now is with the, uh,
strict families
or close-minded families.
-(indistinct chattering)
-(cameras clicking)
Rahaf, how does it
feel to be in Canada?
A young Saudi woman
is on Canadian soil
after being granted
asylum in that country.
The 18-year-old
arriving in Toronto...
(cameras clicking)
Okay, I'll go give
the flowers to Rahaf!
Okay, so everyone,
this Rahaf al-Qunun,
a very brave
new Canadian.
I was not treated
respectfully by my family,
and I was not allowed to be
myself and who I want to be.
As you know,
in Saudi Arabia,
this is the case
for all Saudi women,
except for those that
are fortunate enough
to have understanding
The Saudis denied
they had tried
to force the teen
to return home.
Her case is the latest
to highlight
Saudi Arabia's strict
Guardianship laws
that force women to have
a male relative's consent
to travel or marry.
(speaking Arabic)
(horn beeps)
(chattering in Arabic)
The driving ban
became a symbol.
It was not the only right
that Saudi women wanted.
(speaking Arabic)
It's extremely difficult
to be an activist
in Saudi Arabia
and escape imprisonment.
(Aziza speaking Arabic)
For the first time,
the Saudi official press
published their photos
with the word "traitors."
The public prosecutor said that
their charges are related
to national security.
Their charges are related
to working with
foreign governments.
Their charges are related
to working with people
who seek to undermine
the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
(speaking Arabic)
Ah, okay.
(Tariq speaking Arabic)
(man speaking Arabic)
(man reciting Koran over PA)
(horn honks)
(indistinct announcement
over PA)
(Sarah speaking Arabic)
Okay? Okay.
(speaks Arabic)
They all say I'm
a strict examiner,
but I always imagine
the lady with her kids
or with her mom.
And if I feel she's gonna
be safe on the road,
so that's cool.
If not, I feel no.
She have to, you know, train.
You know, it's dangerous.
That's why they call
me a strict examiner.
(speaking Arabic)
(turn signal clicking)
(gear selector clicking)
(alarm beeping)
(speaks Arabic)
(signal clicking)
(signal clicking)
(signal clicking)
(gear selector clicks)
(speaks Arabic)
Okay, bravo.
(speaks Arabic)
-(indistinct chattering)
-(line rings)
(birds chirping)
(signal clicking)
(Sarah speaking Arabic)
I think that in a few years,
Saudi females will be
as strong as...
what they want to be.
We're looking for more changes.
It would be really
amazing if all
females in Saudi Arabia,
despite the mentality
of their families,
have their own rights
of deciding their
way of living.
Whatever happened
to Saudi women before,
we believe that
we are the new generation.
We believe that nothing
can hold us back,
and we will do it as long as
we believe in ourselves.
(speaking Arabic)