Starting this Friday, we will discuss one film or book every week that is about women. The segment aims to look at films and books, encourages you to look them up as well, that are about the daily battles, the small wins, the big losses and the immense courage of women from across the world. And what better way to start this journey than with “Wadjda”.

About Wadjda:

Few movies are like books. Unputdownable. Wadjda is one such film. The first film to be shot entirely in Saudi Arabia, is about a 10-year-old girl, Wadjda, who works hard to learn the Koran for a school recital. She wants to win the prize money so she can buy herself a flashy green bike she saw at a local shop. Riding a bike is one of the ‘don’t’s’ for girls in Saudi Arabia.

‘Wadjda’ portrays the daily struggles of women in the Kingdom; the struggle of living within the norms and trying to break free. In the film, while on the one hand her mother lays out strict rules for Wadjda so that she remains within the norms that the society has set for them, on the other she is trying hard to convince her husband not to marry again.

‘Wadjda’, written and directed by Haifaa Al Mansour, premiered at the 2012 Venice Film Festival and received a 10-minute standing ovation. The film received extensive international recognition and won three international awards, establishing Haifaa as a major talent emerging from the Arab World.

Every frame is worth a watch.

The trailer of the film

About the Director:

Being the first woman filmmaker in the Arab world, Haifaa’s work is critically acclaimed and well appreciated across the world. Within the Kingdom, Haifaa’s work is both praised and vilified for encouraging discussion on topics generally considered too taboo, including tolerance, the dangers of orthodoxy, and the need for Saudis to take a critical look at their traditional and restrictive culture.

Other than her full length feature film ‘Wadjda’, Haifaa has also found success with her three short films – Who?, The Bitter Journey, and The Only Way Out. Her award-winning 2005 documentary Women Without Shadows influenced many Saudi filmmakers and brought the issue of opening cinemas in the Arab world into the mainstream discussions.

‘Variety’ magazine’s Women’s Impact Report of 2012 named Al Mansour as one of the leading female creative figures in the world who influenced the industry by thinking outside the box.

‘Wadjda’ is one of the few films that led to a book based on it. ‘The Green bicycle’ written by Haifaa was published in 2015.

(With Inputs from Haifaa Al Mansour’s official facebook page.)

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