As the Womens March on London in solidarity with USA was yesterday and I was proud to be one of the 100,000 there, I thought it only right that I watch a film by a woman and about a girl, from country that oppresses women.
I remember when Wadjda first came out and there was buzz about the film about a girl who wanted to buy a bicycle. A simple enough story but the fact that it was set in Suadi Arabia where a girl riding a bike is frowned upon, that makes the story different.
Wadjda is an 11 year old girl who is unlike her classmates. She definately wears converse to school, listens to rock music, talks back to adults, including men and all she wants is to buy a green bike to race her friend Abdullah. She tries to raise the money herself by selling mixtapes and making bacelets but as these are forbidden at school, she decides to enter a Quran recital competition and use the money to buy her bike. Her mother is preoccupied with the prospect that her husband will take a second wife and dealing with an awful commute to work to notice half the things going on with Wadjda but ultimately, she understands her daughter and wants her to be happy.
On the surface this is a story about a girl who wants a bike. But what surrounds Wadjda's story is how women are treated and how they are meant to behave in society. Wadjda loves her father who barely seems to be around but she slowly starts to see her worth in his eyes, especially when she pins her name to a picture of the family tree only to find it has been ripped off later. Wadjda is wonderfully unique and the fact her mother knows it and embraces it by the end of the film is encouraging to see. Even her friend Abdullah is likes her as she is and doesn't want anything else, saying that he wants to marry her when they're old enough, knowing full well that she'll be difficult, in a good way.
Some parts are difficult to watch most likely because I can't comprehend what is happening, but is a brilliant film that was delightfully unexpected.