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697 Ratings


Directed by Haifaa Al-Mansour
Saudi Arabia, Germany, 2012


Hailed as the first film shot in contemporary Saudi Arabia (from the first female Saudi filmmaker), Wadjda tells the story of a young girl in a conservative town who dreams of having a bicycle, which is forbidden for girls.

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Wadjda Directed by Haifaa Al-Mansour

Awards & Festivals

Venice Film Festival

2012 | 3 wins including: C.I.C.A.E. Award

Independent Spirit Awards

2014 | Nominee: Best First Feature

International Film Festival Rotterdam

2013 | Winner: Dioraphte Award

The layers [Abdullah] reveals of her character’s experience, the amount of stuff she allows us to see (insecurity, judgment, despair, rage, helplessness, gentleness, vanity, sexual anxiety and desire) … it’s fearless, especially considering that the “Saudi woman” is practically non-existent in terms of representation out there in the world of art. Mostly we just see fully-cloaked-and-covered figures. [Like Wadjda’s director,] Reem Abdullah is a pioneer, too.
January 20, 2015
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The narrative of Wadjda is essentially a series of obstacles and clever solutions, the path of an intelligent and resourceful girl who, in the end, finds that she has to rely on the strength of other women, and the possible paths of new traditions, rather than brash iconoclasm. In a way, this mirrors al-Monsour’s filmmaking, which borrows liberally from the picaresque realism of Iranian cinema but is not afraid to soften its hard edges in favor of a hopeful humanism.
October 31, 2013
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The first female-directed Saudi Arabian film would be culturally significant even if it weren’t very good; and though writer-director Haifaa Al-Mansour doesn’t break new ground aesthetically (the film’s style is one of unforced, albeit unremarkable, naturalism), she relates the experience of a Saudi Arabian girl’s coming of age clearly and unsentimentally, which alone makes this a must-see.
September 20, 2013
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