Haifaa Al Mansour, director of Wadjda, talks at Venice Film Festival about breaking taboos in Saudi Arabia with her new film
Saudi Arabia’s first female director has made her debut at the Venice film festival, exploring the limitations placed on women in the conservative Islamic kingdom through the tale of a strong-willed 10-year-old girl living in Riyadh.
The film, which the director says is the first to have been entirely shot in Saudi Arabia, follows the everyday life of young Wadjda and her attempts to circumvent restrictions and break social barriers – both at school and at home.
Constantly scolded for not wearing a veil, listening to pop music and not hiding in front of men, Wadjda uses guile to get her own way.
When she sees a green bicycle for sale that would allow her to race against a male friend, she concocts a plan to raise the money needed to buy it in spite of her mother’s opposition – respectable girls do not cycle in Saudi Arabia…
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