The Judge

  • Erika Cohn
  • United States
  • 2017
  • 82 min
  • European Premiere
  • Panorama
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Are you allowed to divorce your husband if he mistreats you? What are the criteria for receiving alimony? These are questions covered by Sharia, or Islamic law. But religious scholars, judges and ordinary citizens all interpret the law differently. And in the Middle East, opinions are also divided on whether a woman should be permitted to sit as a Sharia judge. Despite the controversy, former lawyer Kholoud Al-Faqih became the first female Sharia judge in the Middle East and she has been trying family cases since 2009. It hasn’t been easy; many of her peers, men and women alike, believe women cannot be objective enough to judge such cases. In this portrait, Al-Faqih demonstrates that she is perfectly capable of leaving her emotions outside the courtroom in hearings on divorce, custody and alimony. We follow her as she goes about her daily work, and at home where she has her own family to take care of. Some express positive opinions about this female judge, but following a change in the ultimate authority, and despite her best efforts, Kholoud finds herself sidelined.


  • 82 min
  • color
  • DCP
  • Spoken languages: Arabic
  • Subtitles in: English
Erika Cohn
Erika Cohn for Idle Wild Films
Executive producer
Geralyn Dreyfous, Diana Dougan
Amber Fares
Sara Maamouri, Ken Schneider
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IDFA history

European Premiere

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IDFA history