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The Poetess (2017)

Hissa Hilal - Eine Stimme hinter dem Schleier (original title)
This is the story of a Saudi woman who grabs the opportunity to speak against religious extremism and stands up for a peaceful Islam. This is Hissa's story.


Stefanie Brockhaus, Andreas Wolff (as Andy Wolff) | 1 more credit »
1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »




Credited cast:
Hissa Hilal Hissa Hilal ... Self - Poetess
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Mastoura Al-Ahmadi Mastoura Al-Ahmadi ... Self
Ziad Batal Ziad Batal ... Self
Stefanie Brockhaus Stefanie Brockhaus ... Self - Interviewer (voice)
Maged Fakhr Maged Fakhr ... Self - Co-producer of Million's Poet Show


In 2010 Saudi poetess Hissa Hilal made headlines around the world as the first woman to ever make it to the finals of "Million's Poet", an Abu-Dhabi based Million Dollar reality television show. It is the Arab world's biggest poetry competition, and it is dominated by men. In her poems Hissa criticizes the patriarchal Arab society and she attacks one of the most notorious Saudi clerics for his extremist fatwas, live, in front of 75 million viewers. Hissa Hilal is the voice from behind the veil: Her word is her weapon. We'll never see Hissa's face. Like the majority of Saudi women, Hissa is covered from head to toe. She is not allowed to drive a car. She doesn't own a passport. And she requires consent from her husband for any sort of activity. But then, coming out of nowhere, Hissa is suddenly breaking news in the biggest Western and Arab media. How did she gain the knowledge and the courage to step on stage and risk her life?

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A Saudi woman speaks out

User Reviews

Women's life in Saudi Arabia
25 April 2018 | by chong_anSee all my reviews

While other women have occasionally entered this Arab-world-wide Poetry writing and reading contest, she is the 1st to reach the finals, and she did it with fiery denunciations of anti-women culture and religious extremism.

In between scenes of her audition and on-stage performance, she shows us her teaching her daughter how to behave "properly" in Saudi Arabia so she would not attract attention. She also gives her view of how women's rights have eroded over the years. As Bedouins in the desert, practicality was paramount. As men moved to easier life in the cities, the restrictions on women grew. Eventually, though, it was the Saudi royal family that accepted religious extremism in return for continued political and economic power.

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Official Sites:

English | German | See more »


Arabic | German | English

Release Date:

31 May 2018 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

The Poetess See more »

Filming Locations:

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (TV) | (TV) (2019) | (original)



Aspect Ratio:

16 : 9
See full technical specs »

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