The Exchange: A tale embedded in powerful feminist commentary
Kuwait has successfully made its position on the international stage with The Exchange, a thrilling, action-packed six-part thriller set in the 1980s. It portrays the tale of two women, Farida and Munira, cousins who enter the male-dominated world of the financial market and make their mark.
This occurs on the eve of the US-Iran confrontation and Saddam Hussein's great reaction, albeit it plays little role in the main plot. Instead, the major idea of The Exchange is the recontextualization of women's positions in the workplace in light of evolving feminist paradigms.
The creators have done an excellent job of creating their narrative around female empowerment without adopting a radical approach.
Most projects incorporating this much feminist criticism these days go completely off the rails with the messaging.
No one likes to witness a one-sided portrayal of any subject. Such images also keep the feminist movement beneath the radar, forcing it to pass superfluous gender equality litmus tests.
The Exchange, on the other hand, is free of such dangers. In reality, aspiring filmmakers can learn from the series creators for such an unexpected and daring portrayal of the two females.
Both ladies are fighting parallel wars. The first is, of course, the Kuwaiti stock exchange. The other is a personal conflict they are fighting at home. The tide has swung strongly against Farida and Munira.
Nonetheless, the two ladies demonstrate individual brilliance and collaborative tenacity in weathering the storm, even when it does not suit them. While neither portrayal is adequately developed, the novel approach to typical situations such as family dysfunction provides viewers something to look forward to.
The show's attractiveness is enhanced by the clothes, make-up, and amusing embodiment of things unsaid through conversation.
The cultural flavour of Kuwait is strongly etched in the visuals. We became used to seeing the white kaffiyeh sitting comfortably on male heads and the thawb freely flowing horizontally after a time. That aspect may be the show's distinguishing feature, but nothing unique defines it.
There is a strong connection between world events and how they shape the two women's trips. The Exchange's endeavour is to simplify and explain how stock values go up and down. Many investors are emotionally drained due to the stigma linked to it.
Yet, other examples, such as the bombing of the oil tanks and the drop in beef prices impacting hog and sheep prices, subtly demonstrate that argument.
The storytelling technique is such that you largely glide through the episodes. A cheerful background soundtrack keeps the spirits up, and the events unfold in such a way that they don't need much help from other aspects to fade away in the viewer's mind.
The tone is cheerful, more akin to comedy than serious drama. That is not to say that The Exchange is devoid of impassioned conversation. Farida's coming-of-age narrative is highlighted by the difficult circumstances she endures against everyone else, even Munira.
The Exchange piques our interest in Kuwait's slate of films and television series. Their first worldwide product will pique a big audience's curiosity.