Haifaa Al-Mansour directs Waad Mohammed, Reem Abdullah and Abdullrahman Al Gohani in this Saudi Arabian set childhood tale where a rebellious kid wants a bicycle.
A lovely little film about a subject that should be grim, alien and unfathomable to Western eyes. Women in this regime are so policied and restricted that they cannot own bicycles for pleasure or cars to get to work, innocent touch is misinterpreted as forbidden lesbian romance and political elections aren’t even allowed to be glimpsed at from rooftops. A ten year old showing her wedding photos is played for non-judgmental laughs. Yet the film remains surprisingly light, buoyed by a mischievous turn by our titular heroine. She remains defiant and determined to get what she wants, a bicycle so she can race and play with her neighbourhood boy mate on equal terms. Watching her beautiful mother’s subplots about work and marriage expose the limited future Wadjda has in stall for herself, why not let her have a bit of fun and freedom while she still can?
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