Wadja tells the story of a young girl in Saudia Arabia that yearns for a bicylce to race her friend, shown above giving her a bike helmet. This is not an easy task for Wadja to accompllish and the young actress, Waad Mohammed, is a delight as the tomboy with the impish smile and the resolve of a small tiger. Written and directed by Haifaa Al-Mansour, this is the first film from Saudia Arabia directed by a woman! Wadja has won many film festival awards and is a wonderful glimpse into a world most of us have never experienced. In an interview with the Financial Times, Al Mansour commented, “It was very important for me to show that even women reinforce traditional values and that it is not only men. The usual refrain is that the men are always the oppressors and the women are always victims, but the situation is more complex than that.”
Director Al Mansour insisted on shooting the film entirely in Saudi Arabia so that it would be entirely authentic, despite the legal and logistical problems it entailed. As women and men are prevented from publicly interacting, she said, “It was a major obstacle to go out in the street and talk to my actors,” and she would often direct by telephone and with walkie-talkies. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/15/wadjda-film-saudi-woman-director-wajda_n_3586625.htmlI was fortunate that the Denver Landmark Theatre, Chez Artiste, was able to extend the run of this amazing film so that I could see it. The whole cast is outstanding and the Mother played by Reem Abdullah, portrays a woman who tries to live her life by the rules and must adapt to this daughter with a sense of her own power. This is a film that deserves a wide audience. For children old enough to read subtitles, perhaps Wadja would make them think twice about privileges that they take for granted!
A+ Rating! Passes the Bechdel Test with flying colors and bells on a bike!Rating: 4 glasses of wine