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Wadjda وجدة is a 2012 Saudi Arabian film, written and directed by Haifaa al-Mansour. It was the first feature film shot entirely in Saudi Arabia and the first feature-length film made by a female Saudi director.
Wadjda is a 10-year-old girl, living near Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. Although she inhabits a conservative world, Wadjda is fun loving, entrepreneurial, and always pushing boundaries.
After a fight with her friend Abdullah, a neighborhood boy she should not be playing with, Wadjda sees a beautiful green bicycle for sale. She wants the bicycle desperately so she can beat Abdullah in a race, however, Wadjda’s mother won’t allow it, being from a society that sees bicycles as dangerous to a girl’s virtue.
Wadjda begins to earn the money herself by selling mixtapes, hand-braiding bracelets for classmates, until she decides to participate in a Quran recital.
Watch the trailer: Wadjda
Haifaa Al Mansour Interview
Saudi Arabia’s first female film director talks about new release Wadjda
Wadjdais a ten-year-old girl with a care-free, rebellious spirit. She is the protagonist of the film and lives in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. As a muslim girl, she is expected to uphold a virtuous character of femininity, which is part of the cultural norms in her community. Yet her child-like curiosity and unconventional attitude fail to keep her out of trouble with authority.
One of the ways she rebels is by playing with her friend Abdullah, a boy who lives in her neighborhood. She ends up getting into a fight with him, which challenges her ego. After the fight, she encounters an attractive, green bicycle for sale and can’t help but fall in love with it. She wants to purchase the bicycle and race her friend Abdullah, but her mother does not approve of her choice. Otherwise, she would be abandoning her femininity.
On the other hand, Wadjda is determined to make the bike hers with or without her mother’s approval. This decision eventually leads to her entering a Koran recitation competition for a cash prize after enduring hardship of raising money on her own. Unfortunately, this comes with some backlash. Wadjda has something special to prove to the world, but more importantly, to herself. Challenging the status quo is not easy for her, yet it serves as a tremendous source of growth and self-confidence.
Read Wadja Screenplay