Mandoub offers an exciting look at the perils of survival in Saudi Arabia’s gig economy

Saudi Arabia has one of the lowest poverty rates in the world, and its wealth and reputation make it a uniquely prosperous, working-class-free place in the minds of many. But with his debut novel, mandubu, Premiered on Toronto International Film Festival this yearDirector Ali Kalsamy tells a darkly comedic, gripping story about the lives of Saudi Arabia’s gig workers, who toil in the darkness to make the elite’s dream lives possible.

Located in the traffic-congested heart of Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, mandubu Tells the twists and turns of Fahd Al-Ghadani (Mohammed Aldokhei), a restless call center employee who is habitually late to the office and whose indifferent and irrational customers put his job in jeopardy Danger. For his aspiring entrepreneurial sister Sarah (Hajar Alshamari), ailing father Nasser (Mohammed Artoyan) knows his son means well and sincerely wants to provide for the family. for the best results.

But when Fahd was stuck in traffic and unable to be on time countless times, his managers were ready to fire him for good, and with little hope of finding full-time work, he became a delivery driver for the likes of Uber. A service called Mandoob (roughly translated as “express delivery” in Arabic).

mandubu The 1 hour and 50 minute film doesn’t spend much time delving into the details of how Saudi Arabia has developed in recent years. Encourage foreign companies such as Uber to set up shop within its borders As part of the Crown Prince’s Vision 2030 plan, the plan aims to diversify the country’s non-oil industries.But you can see in his focus on Fahd and his desperation to hide his new job from his family. mandubu Comments on the reality of how difficult it is to thrive as a gig worker in a system designed to keep them invisible, faceless, perpetually busy, and underpaid.

There is an ominous feeling on the road mandubu The opening chapter gives you a taste of the dark twist in Fahd’s story, as his life as an ordinary delivery boy provides him with an unexpected opportunity to run a smuggling operation for the wealthy elite.But while Karsamy and co-writer Mohamed Algaravi did craft a mandubu For a thriller, the script’s exploration of Fahd’s psyche and Aldohoyi’s subtle performance also make the film seem like a surprisingly comedic character study.

The deeper Fahd gets into his secret double life as a liquor dealer and mandoub driver, the harder it becomes to tell whether his compulsive lying or the shame of his inability to hold down a paying job is what drives him to continue reason.and greater fears of caffeine overdose are some mandubuFrom a narrative perspective, this is Riyadh’s greatest strength. What’s most striking about the film, though, is the way Karsaimi and cinematographer Ahmed Tahoun use the camera to portray Riyadh as a gleaming metropolis, whose beauty belies myriad social dichotomies.

have specific cultural characteristics mandubu There are many moments where much of Fahd’s daily frustrations are inspired by the very real obstacles faced by Uber drivers around the world, so there’s a direct connection to the film that speaks volumes about the commitment it takes. mission company. Like seeing yourself in Fahd and his plight, mandubuThe final and most impressive trick is the surprising way it ends the story while making a powerful point about all things public transportation.

although mandubu used to be Recently received and distributed, the film doesn’t yet have a proper distributor or release date and may have to wait a while before hitting theaters and/or streaming services. Still, it’s definitely worth watching once it’s released.

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