DIFF student review – Wadjda: Thought-provoking and entertaining

2013-07-26 09:52

City Press is proud to host student reviews of the films on offer at the Durban International Film Festival. The students are postgraduates from the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Culture, Communication and Media Studies department.

“A woman’s voice is her nakedness...”

Wadjda is the first feature film shot in Saudi Arabia and the first feature film written and directed by female Saudi film maker Haifaa Al-Mansour.

It goes without saying that the existence of the film is, in itself, an accomplishment.

Al-Mansour pushes the boundaries even further with this film by challenging the status quo in Saudi Arabia. One can’t help but think that, as a little girl, the director was just as ambitious and unique as the film’s lead character Wadjda.

Wadjda (Waad Mohammed) is a Saudi schoolgirl who sets herself apart, hiding her blue painted toenails in a pair of Converse All–Stars.

She is free-thinking, humorous and outspoken and all she wants is to be herself in a society where everything she does is considered haram (forbidden) – from making colourful bracelets to listening to Western music.

The story is built around Wadjda’s desire to buy a bike that she sees at a local shop, a toy that a girl in Saudi Arabia is not supposed to have, as it is dangerous to a girl’s virtue.

The store owner tells her the bike is too expensive for her, but later he decides to reserve the bike for her until she saves enough money to buy it.

As the story unfolds, Al-Mansour take us on a journey into the daily struggles of Saudi women, struggles which she captures beautifully in this film.

Wadjda is as thought-provoking as it is entertaining.


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