‘The Tambour of Retribution’ Review: A Potential Saudi Couple Is Separated by More Than Tradition

The first fiction film to be set amongst the working-class Black Saudi community of Riyadh, this social issues drama, released by Netflix and chosen as the Kingdom’s international feature submission, is more fascinating for the cultural differences it reveals than any felicities of filmmaking. Taking place at the end of the 1990s, the rather ominously titled “The Tambour of Retribution,” is the second feature directed by Abdulaziz Alshelahi (“Zero Distance”). It focuses on the barriers to a love match between the son of an executioner and the daughter of a wedding musician, whose society leaves them with more indebtedness to their families than free will.

Twentysomething Dayel (Faisal Aldokhi,

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