Haifaa Al Mansour Becomes First Saudi Arabian Director of a Feature Film
Wadjda is the first feature film to be submitted to the Oscars by the Saudi Arabian Association for Culture and Arts. It’s also the first film written and directed by a woman in that country. Variety calls it the tiny movie that’s making waves.
Haifaa Al Mansour’s story has an underlying theme of female independence and is about 11-year-old Wadjda (played by her niece) who dreams of owning a green bicycle.
Al Mansour comments in Mother Jones that she had to direct from inside a van
and communicate with her actors via walkie-talkies as there are restrictions on
men and women mingling and working together in public spaces.
“It’s about a movement; it’s about celebration, [but] a bike is not intimidating. It’s a toy,”
she says. She believes the response to her film shows the country is changing.
Photo: Courtesy Sony