Wadjda

The first movie made in a country without movie theatres and directed by a woman where women are second class citizens would be worth seeing, regardless of how good it is. But Wadjda is good.

What is it about movies with bicycles? This one features a ten-year-old Saudi Arabian girl, Wadjda, who wants nothing more than to get a bike, even though her mother warns that “you won’t be able to have children if you ride a bike.”

Wadjda, however, is less about the bike and more about showing the daily inconveniences of being a woman in Saudi Arabia. And truly, I’ve never thought beyond the injustice of women’s treatment in that country to consider the countless daily inconveniences caused by the rules there. Relying on a driver to get you to work, controlling the volume of your voice around men, or, for example, directing a film via walkie talkie since you’re not allowed to speak directly to the male actors you’ve hired.

Thank you, Haifaa Al Mansour, for giving us this glimpse into your country. May your film be the first of many created by Saudi women.

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