Wadjda

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“One of the best films of the year! Something close to a miracle.” – Oliver Lyttelton, Playlist

“Funny and touching. Discover what can make us happy, both as moviegoers and citizens of the world. Wadjda does the trick.” – Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal

“It's a stunningly assured debut, a slyly subversive delight, and one of my favorite movies of the year so far.” – Dana Stevens, Slate

 

This first feature film shot entirely in Saudi Arabia, and also the first feature film made by a female Saudi filmmaker, Wadjda is the story of a young girl living in a suburb of Riyadh determined to raise enough money to buy a bike in a society that sees bicycles as dangerous to a girl's virtue. In a country where cinemas are banned and women cannot drive or vote, writer/director Haifaa Al-Mansour has broken many barriers with her captivating new film. Wadjda (Waad Mohammed) is a 10-year-old girl living in a suburb of Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. Although she lives in a conservative world, Wadjda is fun-loving, entrepreneurial and always pushing the boundaries of what she can get away with. After a fight with her friend—a neighborhood boy she shouldn't be playing with—Wadjda sees a beautiful green bicycle for sale. She wants the bicycle desperately, but Wadjda's mother (Reem Abdullah) won't allow it, fearing repercussions from a society that sees bicycles as dangerous to a girl's virtue. So Wadjda decides to try and raise the money herself, though her plans are thwarted when she is caught running various schemes at school. Just as she is losing hope of raising enough money, she hears of a cash prize for a Koran recitation competition at her school. She devotes herself to the memorization and recitation of Koranic verses, and her teachers begin to see Wadjda as a model pious girl. The competition isn‘t going to be easy, especially for a troublemaker like Wadjda, but she refuses to give in. She is determined to continue fighting for her dreams. (Dir. by Haifaa Al-Mansour, 2013, Saudia Arabia, in Arabic with subtitles, 98 mins., Rated PG, Sony Pictures Classics) Digital

 

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