Tuesday, July 7, 2020

1105. Wadjda

Directed by Haifaa al-Mansour

There sure are a lot of movies about kids coveting bicycles on this blog. This is the first movie directed by a woman from Saudi Arabia, but because Saudi Arabia is Gilead without the laughs, she wasn't even allowed to speak to her predominantly male crew and was forced to direct the street scenes from a nearby van. Yay, progress.

Wadjda really wants a bike so she can race against her friend (a neighborhood boy named Abdullah), but her mother refuses to buy it for her, because give young girls an inch and soon they'll want all sorts of terrible things, like human rights or the ability to vote. Meanwhile, Wadjda's grandmother is trying to find her son another wife, because Wadjda's mother hasn't borne any sons yet.

So this was obviously upsetting in numerous ways. But the characters themselves are so lovable that I found myself forgetting my anger and just rooting for these characters who were trying to improve their lives in small, but hugely significant ways.

A welcome perspective and a welcome entry on the List.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

The cost of the bicycle is 213.33 in US dollars.


  1. I think an essential part of subtitles should include such information as comparative costs.. Not just a straight conversion, but if this bike costs $213.. OK, but how much the father earns...

    You lose SO much without some background in a foreign language film..

    For example.. An imagined British film.. No dialogue as yet..

    Guy gets up, comes down stairs, picks a copy of the Guardian of the door mat. Goes into kitchen to make tea, puts the radio on. It's radio 4. They are interviewing Michael Gove. Guy rolls his eyes, mutters something indistinct, but it's probably a swear word, and switches it off..

    Any Brit already knows a lot about this guy, certainly his politics, and if you are going to like or dislike the guy. ...

    He goes out shopping. Does he go to Waitrose.. or Aldi? (instantly we know his financial position)

  2. love the review and Ray's take on this!!!

  3. Thank you Diana... and despite the fact I didn't actually get round to saying anything about this actual film...

  4. OK, just out of interest.. last night I got out to a real Cinema! .. The Film Club in Keswick re-opened to a very depleted, highly distanced and not much fun audience last night with Al Mansour's follow up film 'A perfect Candidate'.
    Every bit as good as 'Wadja' In the new one, a female doctor has to face male patients who refuse to be even touched my her, preferring to be treated by an unqualified male nurse than her... The main story is her standing for the area council of getting a surfaced road to the (only) local hospital. Strongly recommended.
    And, as Amanda points out for this film, you so like (most) of the people, and the way they are trying to change their lives, you stop stop getting cross and laugh at the baddies.