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Cannes Watch: The First Female Saudia Arabian Director Hits Cannes

Cannes Watch: The First Female Saudia Arabian Director Hits Cannes

Haifaa Al Mansour may not be able to drive in her country but she seems to have accomplished something no other woman — or man — has done in Saudia Arabia — directing the first feature film shot in the country.

Her film — Wadjda is according to the Hollywood Reporter the “ordinary but uplifting story of an 11-year-old girl growing up in the suburbs of Saudi capital city Riyadh. Wadjda’s dream is to get and ride a green bicycle, a treasure forbidden to women in the restrictive Islamist state.”  Isn’t it amazing that we live in a world where there are places where girls can only dream about having and riding a bike.

The film is begin sold by the European based Match Factory and was financed by Berlin based Razor Films.

Here’s what she said about the film: “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.”

Let’s just keep im mind how revolutionary and potentially dangerous it was for Al Mansour to direct this film.  Women and not allowed to walk outside on their own and she also couldn’t be on the street to direct scenes of her own film  She had to work from a van.  So here is a woman without the freedom to walk directing a movie about a girl who is dreaming about having something that she is forbidden to have. 

Hopefully? maybe? who knows? this film could be a signal to a changing time since it was even allowed to happen in the country.

I guess we’ll know that there has been a change when we see girls riding down the streets on their bikes and women driving and walking freely.

Al Mansour reveals struggles of directing Wadjda (Screen Daily)

Cannes 2012: Saudi Arabia’s First Female Director Brings ‘Wadjda’ to Fest (Hollywood Reporter)

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