Tomboy Wadjda is ten years old and wants most of all to own a bike. However, it is not that simple, girls should not ride bikes. Nevertheless, Wadjda does not give up so easily. Wadjda is in many ways a kind of positive result of the Arab spring. It is the first Saudi Arabian film ever directed by a woman, and it is tailored to focus on women’s conditions in Saudi Arabia. There is a long tradition in using children to defuse a not so well-hidden political message. The film is in this context, a masterpiece. So politically correct seen by Western eyes that it is a balancing act to avoid being banal. Wadjda, her mother, girlfriends and even her ghastly teacher (who is overly feminine and beautiful), are all portrayed with a kind-hearted charm. Despite the film in many ways being social criticism, the society is depicted with respect and love, and it’s difficult not to be charmed.
Diversity and social awareness have been core values in Kosmorama’s film program right from the start, and when Wadjda was a part of our festival program in 2013, it was one of that year’s most critically acclaimed films in the Norwegian film press. The film was also screened in cinemas throughout Norway later that year.
In collaboration with Amnesty International, we invite you to a special screening of Wadjda, thursday March 7th. Human rights-activist and writer Ina Tin will introduce the screening and have a conversation after the film. She has written the book Saudi Arabia. The Sword and The Voices and visits Kosmorama to talk about the film’s theme: women’s rights in Saudi-Arabia.