Wadjda 2012

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(29) IMDb 7.6/10
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WADJDA is the story of a young Saudi girl whose burning desire for a bicycle leads her into bold defiance of her society's restrictive codes of gender and religion. After a fight with her friend Abdullah, a neighbourhood boy she shouldn’t be playing with, Wadjda sees a beautiful green bicycle for sale. She wants the bicycle desperately so that she can beat Abdullah in a race. But Wadjda’s mother won’t allow it, fearing repercussions from a society that sees bicycles as dangerous to a girl’s virtue. So Wadjda decides to try and raise the money herself. Although her cunning plans are continuously thwarted, she is determined to continue fighting for her dreams...

Starring:
Reem Abdullah, Waad Mohammed
Rental Formats:
DVD, Blu-ray

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature parental_guidance
Runtime 1 hour 37 minutes
Starring Reem Abdullah, Waad Mohammed, Abdullrahman Al Gohani, Ahd, Sultan Al Assaf
Director Haifaa Al-Mansour
Genres Drama
Studio ELEVATION SALES
Rental release 3 February 2014
Main languages Arabic
Subtitles English
Hearing impaired subtitles English
Discs
  • Feature parental_guidance
Runtime 1 hour 37 minutes
Starring Reem Abdullah, Waad Mohammed, Abdullrahman Al Gohani, Ahd, Sultan Al Assaf
Director Haifaa Al-Mansour
Genres Drama
Studio ELEVATION SALES
Rental release 3 February 2014
Main languages Arabic
Subtitles English

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By JOSEPH OLIVER on 17 Feb 2014
Format: DVD
I had no idea that film making was illegal in Saudi Arabia and that there are no cinemas. I picked up these two gems from the half hour documentary which is on the Extras. I'd advise you to watch the making of the film and you will see the tremendous difficulties the film crew had to contend with just to film simple takes i.e. a girl walking down the street. Using a state school was expressly forbidden by the authorities.
The film is very well done. Very professional when you consider the circumstances. If you know nothing about the day to day lives of average Saudi Arabians then this is certainly a good window onto it. The girl is excellent in the role and really stands out - as does her little friend Abdullah. The Head Mistress is a right hypocrite and has the faces to match!
If you believe religion is similar to a viral infection then this film will only reinforce that view. The restrictions placed on the most menial human contacts or expressions of one's humanity are all too evident - especially for women. The film is suitable for children as - lets face it - even an ankle isn't seen in this society. I do hope they produce more of these films but I would doubt it. No doubt when the male authorities learn of it they will try and ban it. It may end up being the first and last of its kind.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By R on 25 Sep 2013
Format: Blu-ray
This is a slightly edited version of my review of the film written for English-speaking friends after I saw it in the cinema in July 2013:

"Oh joy! 5/5 ... This is an incredible film and if, after reading this you want to, you really should try to see it. Yes, yes, I know it's in Arabic with subtitles, but ...

"It's a Saudi/German collaboration, directed by a Saudi woman, about the lives of Muslim women in a run-down, tribal and very conservative Riyadh suburb. The uplifting conclusion will be an inspiration to anyone except perhaps conservative[s of all faiths] ... who will - very wrongly in my view - be indignant at 'all this heresy'...

"So, while the fact that it has been made at all - and is a big critical success - is incredible, it's wonderful to report that this film does for contemporary suburban Saudi life what John Reith said the BBC should do: educate, inform, and entertain. It's a sensitive insight into Muslim women's lives and a window on the teachings of the Koran. It comes from the liberal part of Islam. And it is amusing, sad and dramatic, and beautifully filmed and acted.

"If I had to say which films it reminded me of most, I'd say an unexpected, bizarre and enthralling mélange of If... (Lindsay Anderson, 1968) and Breaking away (Peter Yates, 1979). Yes, it's about badly-behaved school misfits with a dislike of authority and a passion for cycling. I really just can't think why it was that I empathized with the film so strongly!

"There is something odd about the English subtitles in places. But, without seeing the film again, perhaps it was that some of the characters were ignorant of aspects of Arabic grammar and this was being translated deliberately into what we saw on the screen to help our understanding.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Chris Jackets on 29 April 2014
Format: Blu-ray
To really appreciate this delightful film you need to watch the two documentaries in the 'Extras' before watching it. It is almost imposssible for people brought up in the Western World to appreciate just how badly women are suppressed in Saudi Arabia - and how brain-washed they are in being made to believe that it is all God's Will! That this film was able to be made at all in Saudi Arabia is almost unbelievable. Directed by a Saudi woman (often totally physically out of contact with the film crew except by walkie-talkie because men were in the area) with a German film crew - there are no cinemas in Saudi - the restrictions on filming were huge. However, incredibly, this film is not anti-Saudi, but a stunningly simple story of a girl who wants to buy a bicycle. This is a film to cherish for its humanity and the willingness of a young girl to do whatever it takes to achieve her ambition despite all the odds being against her.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Andres C. Salama on 6 Jan 2014
Format: DVD
Wadjda is the first film made in Saudi Arabia, a country where cinema theaters are banned. And is directed by a woman (Haifaa al Mansour), no less, and has a quasi feminist theme as well. The simple plot centers around Wadjda (played by Waad Mohammed), a rowdy girl, about 11 years old, living in Riyad who dreams of owning a bicycle (in Saudi Arabia, the movie tells us, girls riding bicycles are frowned upon). In order to buy a bicycle, she enters a contest in her girls-only school for recitation of the Koran with a cash prize, despite the misgivings of the harsh, stern headmistress (played by an actress called simply Ahd, in perhaps the best performance of the film).

The movie reminds me of some Iranian films of the past that also are centered on children (for example, Abbas Kiarostami's early films or Majid Majidi "Pedar" and "Children of Heaven"). I suppose directors from conservative countries like Iran or Saudi Arabia chose movies centered on children's since films dealing with adult themes would surely hit censorship issues. Perhaps the movie has more social interest than cinematic interest (though it is well filmed). It is fascinating to see the contrast between the relatively affluent society (Wadja's house has all the latest gadgets) and the very conservative traditions of the country (at one point, for example, the mother of Wadjda is afraid that her husband will take a second wife, as it is allowed there). Or we see one of the girls in the school, of Wadjda's age, showing the photos of her marriage to an older man. And once when Wadjda falls from a bicycle and draws blood, her mother is at first afraid her hymen has broken - virginity in women is extremely valued in Saudi Arabia. A very interesting movie to watch, especially since life in Saudi Arabia is very seldom shown in movies.
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