Groundbreaking Saudi Film a 'Revelation'
Wadjda, the first film by a Saudi woman, earns raves
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Sep 13, 2013 11:11 AM CDT
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(Newser) – Movie theaters are outlawed in Saudi Arabia, and women's rights are deeply restricted, so Wadjda, the first feature film shot entirely in the kingdom, and the first directed by a Saudi woman, was always going to be a remarkable film. It's also a very good one, critics overwhelmingly agree—as of this writing, the limited release film is at 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. Here's what people are saying:

  • "Not only is this a deftly crafted and superbly acted film, but Wadjda sheds a powerful light on what women face … in an oppressive regime," writes Claudia Puig at USA Today. Yet it never becomes "a sociological lecture." Director Haifaa al-Mansour "has crafted a vividly multidimensional film that sidesteps predictability."
  • Even once you've gotten over the novelty of the film's creation, you'll find "that the pic transcends mere surprise value and delivers a winning, handsomely crafted story," writes Jay Weissberg at Variety. Its pre-teen lead, Waad Mohammed, "captivates with a palpable confidence: Her T-shirt proudly proclaims, 'I am a Great Catch!,' and she is."
  • "Just seeing life in Riyadh is a revelation," writes Alan Scherstuhl at the Village Voice. Al-Mansour "frames the city's slab-like structures … and then sets the kids loose to dash around and through them." Wadjda is unflinching in its depiction of oppression, but its "appreciation for the hopefulness of children keep[s] all this from becoming too grim to bear."
  • But while the film's depictions of oppression are "thoroughly involving," Kenneth Turan at the LA Times found the plot, which centers around the title character's quest to buy a bicycle, to be "as standard as it sounds," and Wadjda herself to be "a cliché rebel." We're lucky to have the film, he writes, "but it's hard not to wish the result was even better."

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Showing 3 of 83 comments
Econ_101
Sep 14, 2013 9:09 AM CDT
I could sell a lot of mouth washing soap here! Wew......
jgarbuz
Sep 14, 2013 2:26 AM CDT
You clearly don't care about father's rights to THEIR own children, but then why should a woman care about men's human rights? They know it comes out of their womb, so why would they care where the sperm came from? They just need some man around to protect them and the kid for a while. It was this cavalier attitude towards men's rights to their offspring that forced men to become "patriarchs." And without patriarchy, we would never have had any civilization at all. Why should women care if they murder some man's child in the womb? A man is to woman what a horse is to a rider. A woman suckers in some man, who is only there because he wants his child, to love and protect his child. Don't give me this bonobo tribal baloney. The only thing that has raised our species above the other primates is PATRIARCHY! Patriarchy created civilization. We'd all still be living in the savannahs with the other wild animals if women were running things, and we will again soon the way things are going. The end of patriarchy means the end of family. The end of family can only mean one of two things: (a) we start producing babies in factories, or (b) our civilization begins to dissolve. Don't bull me with this "back to the tribe" collectivist nonsense. I've seen it all. I even lived on a kibbutz for a year. When women run things, the end is near, one way or the other.
InferiorToYou
Sep 14, 2013 12:43 AM CDT
From the looks of the trailer it looks like a remake of, Yentl