A 2021 Film Journey: Day 138

I swear, some days it feels like it goes straight from 6pm to 10pm with nothing in between. All that is to say, I am not really sure where the day disappeared to, so today’s movie once again was started late. Still after this spotty month of viewing, if I watch and write about something I am considering it a success.

Wadjda (2013, Dir. Haifaa Al-Mansour)

Wadjda,' by Haifaa al-Mansour, Made in Saudi Arabia - The New York Times

While this film was on my radar for quite some time now, it was seeing Haifaa Al-Mansour most recent film, The Perfect Candidate, as part of the Seattle International Film Festival that inspired me to move it up my list. Like her later film Wadjda tells the story of a Saudi woman attempting to navigate a country that is only beginning to expand its understanding of women’s rights. While The Perfect Candidate focused on a young professional woman, Wadjda instead follows a young girl’s need to rebel against her restrictive surroundings.

Eight years later, Wadjda is more remarkable for what it meant than what it is. The film is good to great on an artistic level. It has some slight pacing issues but there is little to complain about and a lot to enjoy. What stands out more than any of the films text is its place in the culture. When it came out Wadjda marked the first time a woman made a feature film in Saudi Arabia, and it is clear that Haifaa Al-Mansour took the honor with the respect it deserved and created a film addressing the same injustices that kept her from the big screen before this film.

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