The inspiring documentary feature The Judge from Emmy-Winning Director Erika Cohn, offers a unique portrait of Kholoud Al-Faqih who became the first woman judge to be appointed to the Middle East’s Shari’a (Islamic law) courts – her brave journey as a lawyer, her tireless fight for justice for women, and her drop-in visits with clients, friends, and family.
When she was a young lawyer, Kholoud Al-Faqih walked into the office of Palestine’s Chief Justice and announced she wanted to join the bench. He laughed at her. But just a few years later, Kholoud became the first woman judge to be appointed to the Middle East’s Shari’a (Islamic law) courts.
The Judge, which debuted at Toronto International Film Festival will open in U.S. theaters nationwide wide starting April 13.
Religious courts in the Middle East had historically banned women from adjudicating domestic and family matters – in both the Shari’a courts of Islam and the Rabbinic courts of Judaism – until Kholoud Al-Faqih, dares to challenge that history.
With the support of a progressive Sheik, Kholoud becomes the first woman judge with her appointment to a Palestinian Shari’a court in the West Bank, bringing a subtle new perspective garnered from her early professional life working with battered women as an attorney in both the criminal and Shari’a courts.
This feature-length documentary chronicles Kholoud’s appointment, her first years as a judge, and her tenacious ability to maintain her position despite attempts to marginalize and demote her. Through Kholoud’s eyes, the film examines the religious and legal stipulations between men and women according to Shari’a law, relaying how the worst aspects of misinterpreted Shari’a laws reflect a tragic misogyny – rape, beatings, and polygamy – stemming from misconstrued ignorance of the Qur’an.
As Kholoud’s most compelling cases develop in gripping cinema vérité style, the film reveals precisely the kinds of misinterpretations of Shari’a law that Kholoud now has the power to correct.
With unparalleled access and a critical cinematic eye, The Judge follows Kholoud in and outside of the courtroom as she asserts her right to equality and redefines how Shari’a law perceives, treats, and respects women.
Illustrating a unique portrait of her sustained intervention, The Judge reveals that Shari’a is a system largely mischaracterized both in the Middle East and in the West. Amid a time of rapidly increasing global Islamophobia, the unprecedented Muslim Ban and potential future Muslim registry – The Judge illuminates how colonial occupation has impacted the legal and cultural worlds of the contemporary Islamic world, while reflecting a universal struggle for women’s control over their bodies, economic welfare, custodial rights, and marital status.
THEATRICAL RELEASE SCHEDULE
Friday, April 13, 2018
Opens in New York City at Cinema Village
Friday, April 20, 2018
Opens in Los Angeles at Laemmle Monica Film Center
Thursday, April 26, 2018
Opens in Seattle at Northwest Film Forum
Friday, April 27 , 2018
Opens in San Francisco at The Roxie
Opens in Berkeley, CA at Rialto Cinemas® Elmwood
Opens in Detroit at Cinema Detroit
Friday, May 4 , 2018
Opens in Washington, DC at Landmark’s West End Cinema
Additional Markets/Theaters TBA Soon