A Little Story For A Great Hope of A Big Change

This is a story of a little girl, who bravely fight for her dream, to ride a bicycle. This is a story of a mother, who elegantly refuse to surrender, on an unjust patriarchy culture. This is a story of a country, where changes are unavoidable, except to recognise women rights

Wadjda Poster

Dominated by dull clay colour, rigid square buildings, fort-like houses, and monotone citiscape, this is definitely not a movie that can satisfy our thirst for an eye-spoiling movie. Yet, I found this movie paradoxical, ordinary but subversive, mysterious but revealing, rebellious but obedient at the same time.

This is a story of an eleventh years old girl, named Wadjda, who persuade her mother to buy and permit her to ride a bicycle. Unfortunately, she lives in a country that prohibiting girls and women to drive a car or even to ride a bicycle. There is nothing special about the story of a girl who is longing to ride a bike. But when Wadjda’s wish to ride a bike is considered as “against the law”, then it become a subversive one. Perhaps, this is the main attraction of the movie that Haifaa Al Mansour, the first Saudi Arabian woman to become a movie director, begs for our curiosity to explore how everyday life is actually happened in a Saudi Arabia city, Riyadh.

The movie scenes have captured not only the buildings and its people but also traces of culture that embedded inherently in a religion. For people who are not familiar with Islam and its culture, they may percieve Islam as a mysterious religion that prohibit something that obviously harmless for a girl, which is riding a bicycle. But soon Wadjda’s mother clarify the image by saying a revealing statement that, “here bicycles are not for girls.” Here, as refered by Wadjda’s mother, played by a beautiful Saudi’s actress Reem Abdullah, is more closely tied to Saudi’s culture than Islam.

Wadjda is a movie about rebellious girl in a culture that require her to be an obedient subject. A common theme where traditional values collide in a modern world. In this view, Wadjda is a blend of a Middle-East exoticism in a Westernised taste. Yet, I salute for Wadjda’s little story for a great hope of a big change.

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