Wadjda

A Saudi movie secretly shot entirely in the city of Riyadh by a female director. That should be enticing enough to make you watch this. Wadjda had made headlines all over the world in 2013 winning many movie awards and rightfully so.

Wadjda is a 9 year old living with her mom and an absent father. A chance argument with her friend Abdulla brings out the wild-spirit in her and she challenges Abdullah to race him on a bicycle. Problem: girls in Saudi Arabia just don’t ride bikes. Wadjda is defiant and makes it her mission to buy that bike.She needs money though, and to do that she joins a Quran recitation competition in school. What follows is her journey as she attempts to win the competition and encounters other challenges in her life. It’s a classic case of clash between modernity and tradition. By the end of it all, you’d be hard pressed to not root for Wadjda.

Many important issues are touched upon in the movie, but in a very subtle way without being preachy. Wadjda and her mother are brilliantly portrayed by the Saudi actresses who are just a delight to watch on screen.

Poignant, beautiful and heartwarming, Wadjda reminds us of the freedom that we have and take for granted and that ultimately it’s the little things and relationships we have with one another that makes us happy. Definitely a very proud moment for Saudi Arabia!

4.5/5

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