Wadjda and the bike she dreams of having
Wadjda is a film about an enterprising and energetic young Saudi girl. It is a mile stone in the progress of Saudi Arabian women’s rights due to the fact that it is the first feature-length film to be directed by a female Saudi director. Not only that, but the main character has far from docile opinions about the rules and restrictions surrounding her. The story line is Wadjda’s efforts to buy a bike. When asking her parents fails she embarks on an ambitious plan to win a Koran recital competition in order to spend the prize money on a bicycle from the local shop. I would definitely recommend seeing it as it is a great film which manages to combine fun with powerful messages about modern-day Saudi women and girls. The general public opinion seems to veer in favour of the film and the reviews are good.
The film is educational in the sense that it depicts a culture which is very different from the cultures in most parts of Europe. In a way I found it hard to understand some parts, such as not being seen in the streets by men, getting married at much younger ages and even the idea of girls not riding bicycles. However, I think that the film illustrates all of these points and many more in great detail and that the different levels of Islam and different opinions are very well represented. One of the main features of the film is Wadjda’s relationship with a local boy, Abdullah and their friendly rivalry. He is Wadjda’s main reason for wanting the bike, she wishes to prove herself superior, or at least equal to him. I don’t want to give any spoilers so I’ll just say that Haifaa Al-Mansour has made a film to be proud of!
N.B I saw Wadjda at the Irish Film Institute but it will soon be showing at the Pavillion Theatre in Dun Laoghaire.