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Watching "Wadjda"
Published on November 12, 2013 by Sara Foss

Over at the DG, I review the new Saudi Arabian movie "Wadjda."

Here's an excerpt:

"I’m a sucker for foreign films about plucky children. Not only do these films tell heartwarming stories, but they also take viewers to intriguing and beautiful countries. The new movie 'Wadjda' tells a heartwarming story about a spunky young girl, while also depicting the daily rhythms and customs of a distant land. It is one of the few films to emerge from Saudi Arabia, and the first feature film directed by a Saudi Arabian women; production reportedly took five years, because director Haifaa Al-Mansour did most of her work from vans, using walkie-talkies, because men and women are forbidden to be seen working together.

Just for opening a window into a restrictive culture, 'Wadjda' is worth seeing. But it’s also a great little story, about an 11-year-old girl, Wadjda (Waad Mohammed), who wants a bicycle. But at almost every step, she’s discouraged: Her mother tells her that bicycles are not for girls, asking 'Have you ever seen a girl on a bicycle?', and her stern headmistress is constantly trying to get her to conform to Saudi Arabia’s rigid gender norms. After all, this is a country where women are not even allowed to drive cars. The only person who seems intent on helping Wadjda achieve her dream is the neighbor boy, Abdullah (Abdullrahman Algohani), who lets her ride his bike when nobody’s around."

Click here to read the whole thing.

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