Thursday, March 5, 2015

Wadjda: A Look at the Lives of Saudi Women

If you read the blurb provided on IMDB for this movie, it's very simple and non-detailed. A Saudi girl wants a bike. Her mother and others say girls can't ride bikes. There's a variety of reasons for this, namely that it could hurt her virginity and then she'd never get married.

But, oh my, there's so much more going on here. So much more. Through Wadjda, we see the lives of Saudi women, the superstitions, the lack of rights, the people with control issues.

We see a woman abandoned because she can't "give" her husband a son. We see the control men exert over their wives (What does it matter how he prefers your hair when he's never around to see it?), even when they aren't around. And the quick the adults are to assume the worst of young ladies, how fast to expel and destroy the lives of young, misunderstood women. Did I mention the girls aren't supposed to laugh or be heard by men? Nor are they permitted to have different shoes from everyone else.

And that scene I mention there...has me docking a bike. There's a situation Wadjda witnesses. Actually, it's not a situation. Something is misunderstood and two girls' lives possibly ruined. Wadjda has a chance to speak in their favor and yet she doesn't do it, very unlike the Wadjda we come to know throughout the movie otherwise and I can only guess it was because she was either 1. tired of being picked up on the principal herself and wanted in the lady's good graces or 2. had to do with the contest for the money.

And yet we never see Wadjda learn anything from this. There are no repercussions from her lying, no lesson.

I'm not sure either if the Koran story line was intended or not, but I felt there was a side issue with Wadjda pretending to be a devout person with the Koran thing, when really, all she wanted was to win the money for a bike. And yet, this really showed us how very easy it is to fool others, especially when they are seeing want they want to see.

I thought this was a terrific movie. I'd love to know what becomes of Wadjda in the future. I hope her spirit does not get trampled. (Yes, I know this is fiction but when I watch a movie, it feels real to me, especially movies like this.)

I think my favorite scene was when she added her name to the family tree. That moved me.

I bought this DVD on Amazon

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