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The Warsaw Voice » World of Movies » May 28, 2013
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Saudi Movie Hits Theatres
May 28, 2013   
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The highly successful Wadjda movie which opens in Polish theaters June 7 is the first Saudi movie to be directed by a woman. Shown at international film festivals to positive reviews and an enthusiastic response from audiences, Wadjda has won a number of awards, including the People’s Choice Award at the eighth AleKino+ Films of the World Festival.

In her film, director Haifa Al-Mansour shows the changes which have been gradually taking place in Saudi Arabia, a country where there were no movie theaters for decades and the art of making films was deemed anti-Islamic.

The subject is approached in a warm and simple way, as the director avoids stereotyping and being judgmental. The titular character Wadjda is a 10-year-old girl from Riyadh who resolves to pursue her dreams in a country dominated by men where a woman’s life is governed by hijab, or the veiling and seclusion of women in public life.

In her school, the girl is seen as a rebel as she wants to play with the boys and wears sneakers. Wadjda’s dream is to own a bicycle. But just as women in Saudi Arabia are not allowed to drive cars, young girls are not supposed to ride bicycles, which are said to be a threat to a girl’s innocence. Wadjda enters a Koran recitation contest to raise money for the bike of her dreams and at the same time prove to adults that she is a model pious girl.

Wadjda’s story is moving and thought provoking. It is also told in a lighthearted and amusing manner.
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