Wadjda is a new film by Haifaa Al Mansour, the first Saudi woman filmmaker. She is writer and director of the film. To add to the enormous responsibility of representation she now carries, the film is also the first to be filmed completely inside Saudi Arabia. While movie theaters are illegal in the country, producers have stated they plan to distribute it through “DVDs and TV channels” (Telegraph). You can watch two clips of the film below.
I’ve been excited about this film since I read about earlier this week, and am looking forward to seeing it (somehow, some day). It screened at this year’s Venice International Film Festival, and has received quite a bit of press. Check out the links below for more articles on Al Mansour, plus this week’s Her.Stories post.
From Al Mansour’s “Director’s Statement”:
I come from a small town in Saudi Arabia where there are many girls like Wadjda who have big dreams, strong characters and so much potential. These girls can, and will, reshape and redefine our nation. It was important for me to work with an all-Saudi cast, to tell this story with authentic, local voices. (Read more.)
Have you see the film? It’s a Saudi Arabia-Germany production, with most of the crew being German, but Al Mansour still had to deal with the exigencies of directing as a woman in Saudi Arabia where gender separation is required. Without being able to direct the male cast or work with the male crew face to face, what did she do? Worked from a van and used a walkie talkie.
Wadjda screened at La Biennale on August 31 and September 1. Visit the film’s page on the festival’s website.
Watch an interview with Al Mansour at the Doha Film Institute’s website.
Read a review of Wadjda in Variety.
Watch clips from the film: