Friday, January 29th I went into a local coffee/tea joint with a friend of mine to see a Wadjda, a foreign film which a classmate had earlier recommended to us. This film follows a spunky Saudi-Arabian girl, Wadjda, as she desired to have a bicycle of her own. This film shed light on many of the oppressive notions implemented on women in this country, for example Wadjda’s mother had to have a driver, because women aren’t allowed to drive. Wadjda, a pre-teen, is constantly being reprimanded for her actions as she is reminded that her rebellious spirit will make her unappealing to future suitors. I really enjoyed the simplicity of the movie, it was easy to follow and the director, Haifaa al-Mansour ( the first Saudi women to direct a feature length film) gives an honest and raw portrayal of the lives of many Saudi women. Husbands can take on additional wives, if their current one is unable to produce a male heir, and girls who listen to tapes are considered sinful. Although, I was already aware of the more traditional lifestyle in many Middle Eastern countries, seeing the differences really makes me appreciate the freedoms that I have here in the States. My father taught me how to ride a bike when I was in elementary school and no one considered my riding socially unacceptable. I was allowed to hang out with my male friends, without being deemed impure, and my mother is able to drive herself to work everyday. I am in no way saying that people cannot be happy in a more traditional environment, and some people indeed prefer it. However, I believe it is important to have the power to make choices in your life and how you want to live it, and many have people in other countries , like Saudi Arabia have their lives mapped out for them without their input. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and would recommend others watching it, it’s an easy way to gain perspective and broaden your knowledge of the world around you.
Wadjda: A Movie with a Message