Haifaa al-Mansour, another woman from Saudi Arabia who refuses to conform to the Kingdom’s ridiculous restrictions, has brought us a cinematic landmark.
In a country that lacks a single movie theatre, the emergence of her film Wadjda, the first ever shot by a woman in Saudi, is nothing short of a miracle.
It’s a film about a ten-year-old girl in Saudi Arabia who enters a Koran memorization contest in the hope of using the prize money to buy a bike.
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"If you ride a bicycle, you won't be able to get married," the character is told by her mother. She wants to race against her friend Abdullah, a boy from the neighborhood, but riding bikes is frowned upon for girls as much as their interaction with boys.
The movie encompasses the life for a woman in Saudi Arabia – no matter how young she may be.
Forget that it is shot by a woman; the fact that a movie is coming out of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a big deal in itself.
What’s more, Haifaa has gone a step further and showed unveiled women as well as an innocent, nevertheless prohibited, relationship between a young girl and a boy.
It is the first full-length feature to be shot entirely in Saudi Arabia and is backed by Rotana, the film production company of Prince Alwaleed bin Talal – a man behind much of the progress and empowerment of women in the conservative Kingdom.
Wadjda was selected as the Saudi Arabian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Annual Academy Awards as well.
Things are gradually changing for the better in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for women. A lot of the change is thanks to people like Prince Alwaleed and the present monarch King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud.
Wadjda is a prime example of the changing times.