Tuesday, September 23, 2014 — 7:30 and 10 p.m. — BTS 104
» View IMDB Entry (7.7 stars)
» Rotten Tomatoes (99% fresh)
Wadjda is a 10-year-old girl living in a suburb of Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. Although she lives in a conservative world, Wadjda is fun loving, entrepreneurial, and always pushing the boundaries of what she can get away with. After a fight with her friend Abdullah, a neighborhood 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. Wadjda’s mother, however, forbids it, fearing repercussions from a society that sees bicycles as dangerous to a girl’s virtue. Wadjda then decides to raise the money herself.
At first, Wadjda’s mother is too preoccupied with convincing her husband not to take a second wife to recognize Wadjda’s plans. All of Wadjda’s attempts to raise money for the bicycle are thwarted until she learns of a cash prize for a Koran recitation competition at her school. She devotes herself to memorizing and reciting Koranic verses, and her teachers begin to see her as a model pious girl. The competition isn’t going to be easy, especially for a troublemaker like Wadjda, but she refuses to give in as she is determined to continue fighting for her dreams.
Waad Mohammed, Reem Abdullah, Abdullrahman Al Gohani
Director: Haifaa Al-Mansour
The most radical and cheering message of Wadjda is that a change isn't just possible, but inevitable.
Ann Hornaday, Washington Post
In Saudi filmmaker Haifaa al-Mansour's winsome wonder Wadjda, a young girl's aspirations provide an intimate glimpse into the possibilities and limitations of a cloaked culture.
Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post
Wadjda captures Saudi life on the cusp of serious change, but it's by no means a solemn drama. Al-Mansour writes and directs with a light touch and hopeful aspect.
Peter Howell, Toronto Star
An unqualified delight, a sharp, insightful comedy that subversively explores women's place in Islamic society.
Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star
"Wadjda" works quietly and well in its story of a young protagonist questioning the restrictive status quo.
Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
This is not just the first feature by Haifaa Al Mansour but the first feature to be directed by a woman from Saudi Arabia. That is quite a burden, and yet by some miracle the movie bears it with lightness and grace.
Anthony Lane, New Yorker
Cleanly shot, concisely edited, "Wadjda" is a film that parents and smart children could enjoy together; its heroine is both immediately a type (yes, they roll their eyes in Saudi Arabia, too) and a very specific character.
Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger
Wadjda is a winning and wonderfully moving tale of an endearing 10-year-old girl, living in a suburb of Riyadh, making her voice heard in a patriarchal society that seeks to silence her.
Claudia Puig, USA Today
With impressive agility, "Wadjda" finds room to maneuver between harsh realism and a more hopeful kind of storytelling.
A.O. Scott, New York Times