28 November 2014

Friday is the (Inspirational) Movie Night: Wadjda (2012)


Wadjda (2012, Haifaa Al-Mansour) is exactly what you expect when watching a well made movie telling you tales about cultures very different from the one you live in: gives you a general picture of a society while stating very clearly that it's by no means completely homogeneous. Very well. And when such a movie come from the first ever Saudi-Arabian female movie director, your feminist obligation is to go and watch!

The premise is very simple and compelling: What happens when a girl that's already struggling with quite restrictive cultural norms of her society gets a strong urge to trespass even more? Or, in other words, what happens when Wadjda, a young Saudi-Arabian girl, wants a bicycle?

So get the movie, gather all the children (and not so children) you care about and watch Wadjda with them. And if you live in a context different of that of Wadjda be prepared to answer many questions. Why is everybody against her having a bicycle? Why are all the women covering themselves in black when leaving their own spaces? Why are girls not to be friends with boys? Why can men have several wives (and abandon their wives if they are unable to give them male children)? Why are girls followed very closely by their teachers to make sure they behave in a certain way? Why girls suspected of a lesbian relationship publicly shamed? And so on... Most importantly, what is likely to happen with Wadjda when she gets older? What kind of life is she likely to lead?

It may also help to ask those questions to yourself too. Just to realize what are the things that you most likely take for granted in life.

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