Film Review: The Judge

Being a woman in the modern world is difficult as it is but to try and live your life in a Muslim country, dominated by tradition and patriarchal religious values, must be extremely taxing. In the case of Palestine, there’s the extra complicating factor of living under Israeli oppression. Imagine, under all these circumstances, being brave and determined enough to try and challenge the system. Take on those who wield the power and face the wrath of strident conservatism.

The Judge follows Kholoud Al-Faqih, who became the first female judge to be appointed to the Sharia Court. As a young lawyer, she walked into the Palestine’s Chief Justice’s office and announced that she wanted to join the bench. Despite being laughed out of the room, Judge Kholoud’s determination saw her achieve her ambition. However, as Erika Cohn’s documentary demonstrates, it’s a battle she keeps on fighting every day.

Whilst The Judge is shot in a standard vérité fashion and doesn’t throw up any curveballs, it’s a fascinating insight into a rarely glimpsed world. It’s remarkable how far Kholoud Al-Faqih and her female colleague have travelled, especially considering the levels of opposition they face, this is but one small step on what will be a very long journey for gender-parity in a country stuck in the past. They have to fight tooth and claw just to maintain the gains they’ve already made.

The Judge is out in cinemas from 23 November.

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