Dream · Film · Green bicycle · Life in saudi · Movie · Movie review · muslim · Saudi · Saudi Arabia · School


Wadjda is the title of a Saudi movie produced in 2012. It’s the first feature length film written and directed by a Saudi female movie director, Haifaa Almansour. It was shot entirely inside Saudi Arabia.
The story of the movie is about Wadjda, an 11-year-old Saudi girl living in the capital Riyadh, dreams of owning a green bicycle that she passes in a store every day on her way to school. She wants to race against her friend Abdullah, a boy from the neighborhood, but riding bikes is frowned upon for girls and Wadjda’s mother refuses to buy one for her daughter. Wadjda tries to find the money herself by selling mixtapes, hand-braiding bracelets for classmates and acting as a go-between for a teacher, activities which run her afoul of the strict headmistress. Her mother, meanwhile, is dealing with a job with a terrible commute and a husband who is considering taking on a second wife, because Wadjda’s mother can no longer have children.

Wadjda decides to participate in a Quran recital competition featuring a SR1,000 cash prize (equivalent of about US$270[11]) which would allow her to pay for the SR800 bike. Her efforts at memorizing the verses impress her teacher, but when Wadjda wins the competition, she shocks the staff by announcing her intention to buy a bicycle with the prize money. She is told that the money will instead be donated to Palestine on her behalf.

Wadjda returns home to find that her father has taken a second wife, and that her mother, now sporting a shorter haircut that she wanted but her husband opposed, has bought the green bicycle from the toy store. The next day, Wadjda wins her race against Abdullah.
[plot quoted from Wikipedia]

What makes this movie special?

It is enough to be Saudi to make it special. I am not saying that arrogantly, but Saudi has no movie theatre, and so producing a full  movie with high standards is not something to witness everyday. No wonder, the movie could make it to London, Dubai and Venice Movie festivals.

Am I cynical?

No. I’m rather supportive to any try to better help the world understand Saudi culture through media productions. As a first timer, I think the film succeeded to shed some “light” attention on social issues such as women covering faces, people living double standards, girls not allowed to ride bicycles…and so many others.

It was made in 2012, why am I writing about it right now, in 2016?
Because in a recent trip to Kuwait, I found a book based on the story of the movie. Besides, why not! ๐Ÿ™‚

I find the film quite interesting to get people of other cultures understand Saudis, especially Saudi women better. You can find the link to watch the trailer of the film here:๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป



Thank you for reading my post of this week.
My name is Noor Elhayat and I write from Saudi Arabia. I like to dance, eat bagels and write.
If you like this post, make sure to tell me ๐Ÿ™‚ hit “like”, leave a comment or share the post with your readers to make my day!
Check out my other posts as well. They are as cool ๐Ÿ™‚


24 thoughts on “Wadjda

  1. My dear “Lumiรจre”, thank you for this post. I ADORE this movie.
    Had to do a bit of “hunting” as it was not shown in many theatres.
    Saw it once in Paris, then a second time here with my wife so she could see it.
    A five-star movie indeed. I actually wanted to ask if you had seen it.
    Have a lovely week-end.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Difficult to say. (Have you actually seen the movie? If there are no theatres?) Let us I’m totally on the little girl’s side. Every one should be allowed to ride a bicycle. Freely. I remembered when we were little, in the countryside, my sister and I would ride our bikes everywhere with no-one thinking twice about it. I also understand the Director had to shoot several scenes in hiding. Let me put it simply: I think “There still is a lot of work to do”. (and I find you are contributing by your reflection) Have a lovely week-end. Brian

        Liked by 1 person

      2. By the way, not allowing girls to ride bicycles have nothing to do with rules. But society. They think it makes a girl’s back too apparent to others. Plus, other reasons which I can’t mention. If you watch the movie again, and see the scene where she fell off the bike and bleeder, and her mom was in horror, you may understand.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yes, Society can be… difficult. As an example, my grandmother who was english, born in India in the 19th century had many sisters and female cousins. One of her sisters and one female cousin wanted to be Medical Doctors before WWI. That was not allowed then. They ended up being nurses during the war. To-day, my eldest daughter is a medical doctor. Which of course makes us all very proud. Some things take time. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m so excited for movies like this because it sparks a much needed conversation about a reality not many people are aware of, I have yet to see the movie though, but I’m sure it’ll meet my expectations, if not more. Lovely, post Noor, keep up the great work :))

    Liked by 1 person

      1. This is key! When art (movies, books, blogs, etc.) come from diverse points of view, as in this film from female director, Al Mansour, we get a bigger, truer picture that shows humanity is universal. We just need “more.”

        I see this at home (U.S.) too. We just need more. More stories. More diversity among storytellers.


  3. Hi! I read your post 2 days ago, and had to watch the movie immediately! ๐Ÿ™‚ It is great, really enjoyed watching! Since I recently moved in Saudia, I tend to find out as much as I can about your country and society. If you can recommend any other Saudi movie or a book (available in english ๐Ÿ™‚ ) that reveals lifestyle of Saudis, or is significant in any other way, I would be very grateful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Milicrvic,
      Welcome to Saudi!
      Which country are you moving from and which area have you moved to?
      I can recommend according to your answers.
      Also, if you’re near my area, we can meet up for a coffee or something. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผโœจ

      Liked by 1 person

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