Wadjda (2012)

Waad Mohammed, Reem Abdullah, Abdullrahman Al Gohani, Ahd,
Wadjda is a movie starring Waad Mohammed, Reem Abdullah, and Abdullrahman Al Gohani. An enterprising Saudi girl signs on for her school's Koran recitation competition as a way to raise the remaining funds she needs in order to buy...
  • 7.5 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Writer:
  • Haifaa Al-Mansour, Director:
  • Gerhard Meixner, Roman Paul, Producer:

Trailer:

7 / 10

How to watch a Saudi film directed by a Saudi Female in Saudi Arabia

Being a Saudi girl myself I didn't know what to expect, but honestly it was quiet good. The way they portrayed how it goes behind the closed doors of girls schools was so real, like I saw my whole life flashing in front of me: You have to cover your face, you have to wear fully covered Abaya... etc, etc.

Funny thing that most of you know by now that we don't have public theaters here, so I was lucky to hear about the screening in the U.S embassy with the presence of the director Haifa AlMansour. it was a once in a lifetime experience: I watched a Saudi movie directed by Saudi female director with a Saudi audience in Home but not quiet home. That kind of thing only happens in this side of the world.

I really believe that the story portrayed everything well and fair, there were a lot of good laughs.

Good job Haifa: I was lucky enough to tell her that be person. Now Go and make the rest of us proud.

9 / 10

A complex story told simply and well

The director Haifaa Al-Mansour tells the tale of a child called Wadjda whose wish is to have her own bicycle so that she might race against her friend and neighbour Abeer. The only problem is that Wadjda is a girl and girls in Saudi society do not ride bikes, which are considered "boys' toys" ... As we follow Wadjda in her quest to find the money to purchase the bicycle she sees being delivered on the roof of a van, we are introduced to her society and its culture and, in particular, its treatment of girls and women. Al-Mansour's portrayal of her country is shown without heavy judgement, although the bitter sweetness of being female is not concealed.

Filmed on location in Saudi Arabia, a feat in itself in a country that does not have a film industry as films are considered sinful, Wadjda's desire represents the wish for female freedom; her lack of a bicycle is mirrored in the adult women's inability to drive, prohibited for women in Saudi Arabia, and the problems this creates for them. So the child's desire to ride a bike becomes a metaphor for freedom, which is the central theme in the film.

This is a subtle tale full of character, charm and complexities and not at all as one might expect. The young girl who carries the film, Waad Mohammed, is terrific and it is hard to believe that she was not an actress before appearing in this feature.

Does Wadjda achieve her desire and get her bike? Is she able to race it along the dusty roads as free as her friend Abeer and the other boys? Well, you will have to watch the film for the answers and in watching the film will support the director and the nascent film industry emerging from within Saudi Arabia.

7 / 10

How to survive

10-year-old Wadjda lives in Saudi Arabia. She's a bit rebellious, which means she wears basket shoes in school, listens to Western rock at home and has befriended a boy her own age. But she mustn't sing too loud, because the men can hear her and get offended.

Wadjda wants to go further and have her own bicycle, which invites trouble in her country. The story is told in a very warm way and you learn one thing. People in cultures totally different from yours are very much like you.

Realism here. Everyday people having everyday problems, but not the problems you have. A humanistic film, which makes it concerning everybody.

7 / 10

Wadjda is an opportunity for a female Saudi director to get her voice heard

¨You won't be able to have children if you ride a bike.¨

Wadjda is a beautiful yet simple film about a young girl who is willing to break society's boundaries and traditions in order to achieve her goal. In a sense it plays out as a metaphor considering Wadjda is the first feature film from Saudi Arabia which happens to be directed by a female. In a culture where women aren't allowed to speak up to men or even to drive a vehicle, Haifaa Al-Mansour has found a way to share her voice with the world through cinema. That is groundbreaking on its own considering that Saudi Arabia doesn't even have a film industry and that women are very much tied up to the limitations that their society puts on them. Al- Mansour, who also wrote the screenplay, gets her message across in a simple manner without trying to be judgmental or harsh on her culture. It is through the eyes of this 10 year old girl that we see how difficult the culture is on women. Not being allowed to ride a bike for fear that she could lose her virtue and purity plays out as a metaphor as to the limitations females face in these countries. I'm pretty sure that we all agree with Al-Mansour's viewpoints here in the west, but it is a shame that this film won't be seen by the people who really should see this film, the Saudis. It may be a familiar tale to us (it has all the known elements of a classic underdog story), but it works thanks to a wonderful performance from the young Waad Mohammed who plays a character we all can identify and relate to. Wadjda is worth seeing for the historical significance it has for females in Islamic countries who are trying to get their voice heard.

Wadjda (Waad Mohammed) is a ten year old girl from Saudi Arabia who lives with her mother (Reem Abdullah) in Riyadh. She's from a very conservative society where women have to cover their hair around men, but she is a very lovable girl who's always pushing the boundaries to her limitations. When one of the boys (Abdullrahman Al Gohani) begins teasing her and outruns her on his bike, she promises that she will buy one to race him and beat him. She sees a beautiful green bike on sale and since her mother doesn't give her the money because she considers girls shouldn't ride bikes, Wadjda decides to raise the money herself. The perfect opportunity presents itself when director Ms. Hussa (Ahd) offers prize money for the winner of a Koran recitation competition at her school. Wadjda begins to dedicate her time and efforts to this competition, while her mother is worried about trying to convince her husband (Sultan Al Assaf) to stay with her and not get remarried. Wadjda is dedicated to achieving her goal despite the limitations presented by the people around her.

The young and talented Waad Mohammed stands out in this film with a heartfelt and lovable performance. It is a simple tale and one we've seen many times in the past with the exception that this film is told by someone who has been facing those very same limitations. Some universal themes about the human spirit and the power of the will are portrayed nicely in this film through the eyes and smile of Waad Mohammaed. Director, Al-Mansour, also gives us glimpses of the limitations women have to face through very small scenes and moments. There is a scene where Wadjda's mother is shopping for a dress and she tries on a beautiful red one and you can't help but wonder what a waste it is considering she can only wear it at home for her husband. She covers herself completely when there is a man around. She also spends so much time fixing her hair, only to cover it until her husband who sometimes doesn't show up in days can appreciate it. Al-Mansour presents these scenes without being judgmental, but they come through very well. Wadjda, like us, doesn't seem to understand all this and won't conform to those boundaries, which is the director's way of sharing her hope for a brighter future for these women. Maybe if there were more determined girls like Wadjda they could break through some of those boundaries and limitations and have some more freedom. The film is full of hope like the main character and it is one worth seeing.

8 / 10

An Optimistic Tale of Triumph Over Adversity

WADJDA is a straightforward tale of a young girl Wadjda (Waad Mohammed) growing up in a suburb of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, who wants to buy a bicycle. Unable to find the money to do so, she enters a competition to speak the Koran in public with a substantial cash prize. After considerable time spent studying the text, she wins the competition, but sadly doesn't receive the money. In the end, however, she achieves her dreams - but not in the way she expects. Haifaa Al-Mansour's film is noteworthy for being a woman's film directed by a woman; it shows in careful detail the ways in which women's lives are constructed in Saudi Arabia, as well as showing how influential the Koran is in determining people's behavior. Some viewers might think that the women's lives are unfairly restricted; the film suggests that this is what many women believe is the right thing to do. By doing so, WADJDA shows how different people embraces different concepts of Islam. On the other hand, the film also suggests that individuals - especially children - should have at least some means to express themselves, particularly when they have worked to hard to achieve their aims. To restrict them is also to repress them; and this ultimately leads them to accept subordination as a way of life. WADJDA proves that the opposite should be true; not only for Wadjda herself but also for her mother (Reem Abdullah).