Wadjda is a Film about a girl living in a suburb of Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. This film “Wadjda” was filmed in 2012, and has been historically recorded as the first ever feature film shot entirely in Saudi Arabia; as well as first ever feature-length film directed by a Saudi woman. Wadjda, being only 10 years old and growing up in Saudi Arabia lives with many restrictions as to what she can and cannot do; like any other woman living there. She herself, is modern and edgy like teens on the outside; she does what she wants regardless of the rules. Her goal, to buy her own bike.

“Wadjda” is a Saudi Arabian film directed by a Saudi Arabian woman in 2012 about a young girl wanting what is known to be forbidden, a bike. Wadjda is determined to get herself a bike to race against the neighbours boy on his. She saves up the money, takes part in a school challenge to win the money, and even sells her own made bracelets which are forbidden. Wadjda is her own character, this is shown in the very beginning of the film. In the beginning of the film, we are shown a group of quire girls singing a song in harmony in their native language.  The group of girls are shot showing us their shoes to their faces; the girls all wearing the same tidy attire and black polished shoes with complete focus on their face. However, as the camera shoots up the girls, we notice a girl wearing black converse with purple shoe laces. The camera then reaches the girl, being “Wadjda” showing us she is not at all focus and not interested. Wadjda is looking all about, swinging herself around showing her un-interestedness through her body language. She then is called out for this and told to sit out the quire, as it is disrespectful to their culture. The next scene we have Wadjda walking through her room with modern, english rock music blasting through a speaker. We notice she is interested in this, by her singing along. Her room too is colourful, full of posters and crazy coloured shoe laces in which she puts on. From this, we learn she doesn’t follow trends nor rules, Wadjda is her own and does what she considers fun or interests her. This being the same with her wanting the brand new green bike at the store. “Have you ever seen a girl on a bike?” her mum asks her when she promotes the idea, implying it’s a big NO, “ Your not getting the bike Wadjda!”. When Wadjda first sees the bike, she is determined to make it hers. She runs to the store on many occasions, consistently insisting the man puts it on hold for her until she makes the money she needs to buy it. Wadjda is aware that girls riding bikes is strongly forbidden, as it isn’t a womanly act and only boys can own such toys. She too ignores this, and will get the bike herself because she wants it. I would recommend this text because it shows the value of independence and strength. In Saudi Arabia, women aren’t treated with fairness, nor are they granted with opportunity or their own say in things. Woman in this culture, are restricted and practically owned and controlled by society and by men. Wadjda knows and learns of this, and inspires the rest of us to do what makes us happy.

Saudi Arabia is a seemingly cruel place, especially against women. What this text teaches us about the world we live in is that in what we call a ‘free world’, not everyone is so free as it seems. In saudi arabia, there are laws regarding women where their choices are completely stripped from them. There are laws that women cannot travel without male presence, nor can they travel without consent from the woman’s husband or their father. There is too laws about clothing, woman must cover their whole body including head at all times, hiding their beauty completely. Women are not able to try on clothes in a public store, nor are they able to swim in a public swimming pool. They are unable to be seen or heard by working men at schools, practically keeping to themselves. This being proven by a scene in Wadjda where the school principal hears two school girls laughing and says “quiet… you forget that women’s voices shouldn’t be heard by men outside”. This quote shows us how restricted these young girls are, not being able to laugh around men. these laws so not seem fair, nor do they even seem realistic. It’s strange to think that in New Zealand, we are able to go where we choose, wear what we choose, swim or get changed wherever we like and do practically anything; we are free for choice. We live in the same world, with such different religion and restrictions; it’s crazy to me to think women have had such things and choices stripped away from them. What this text teaches me about the world we live in is about the difference for people’s choices, religion and lives. I also learn from this text about the world we live in is how poorly the women are treated in Saudi Arabia. Their decisions are based around men making them, and keeping male authority and their families seemingly happy. So overall from this text i have learnt life or the world is not so fair as it seems.

This text relates back to me not in a way where I’m in these young girls positions, but how it would feel to be there. I am sixteen years old, going to school and pursue in after school activities; i live a normal life free of danger or punishment unless self deserved. In the summer, everyone goes swimming in the lake or in pools, we try on clothes and go clothes shopping for the latest trends, and go place to place with friends. I know i do all those things, and it seems normal and nothing other than fun and a good time. In Saudi Arabia, it is ruled like in Wadjda against even owning or riding a bike for a girl. I couldn’t imagine that life for myself, where I am strictly ruled against things such as going swimming on an exceedingly hot day. Or as well as wearing shorts and a tee shirt, instead of a full black and full body covering. This text relates back to me in a way where i wouldn’t be able to imagine a reality or culture like this for myself, being stripped from my own choosing of such small things.

This text relates to the world in a religious as well as historical way. This text is all about religion, about how Wadjda cannot get her own bike because it is forbidden against girls riding bikes. All over the world, there are many different types of religions and cultures, ranging their laws from one end of the spectrum to the other. in Saudi Arabia, laws are not questioned nor is sinning or disobeying rules tolerated. There culture however, has questionably been accepted by many women, as most laws are restricting them. Culture is the social behaviour and norms found in human society, based around different beliefs and religions. So this text relates back to the world we live in in a culture, and religious way. As the seemingly named ‘problems’ are socially accepted by the country because it’s the way they’ve always lived. This too relates back to history. All of Saudi Arabia’s past and history has been the same, these laws have not been recently inflicted; they have always lived in these ways and conditions. Therefor I believe this text relates back to the world culturally and historically, as this text is not fiction and everything we see amongst young Wadjda living is socially acceptable and actually out there happening.

In the film “Wadjda” we learn a lot about her life and her world. We learn about the culture she lives and grew up in, as well as her determination and courage. It is forbidden for girls to ride bikes in Saudi Arabia, but Wadja teaches us about determination and strength, fighting and doing everything she can to buy herself the bike.


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