Day 239: Wadjda (November, 3)

Wadjda is running on the street, along her friend, on her way to school. He takes her sandwich, she gets it back. In a kind of retaliation, he takes her veil and runs away on his bike. She yells at him that he would wait until she has a bike. She is frustrated by her lack of means to answer him in kind. But the religious tradition under which she was raised doesn't allow girls to ride bikes.

However, Wadjda is tenacious, a true super hero young ninja. She's asking for nothing too big, actually. What she wants is only to live under the same conditions of others - the male part of her community. She wants to be able to defend herself, to race her friend by bike, to not be vunerable because she lacks the means to defend herself. She wants her name near her father's on the family tree, drawn with male names only. But what she sees around her in the Saudi Arabia suburb where she lives is the perverse imbalance between men and women conditions.

One thing she will learn, though - and that's a lesson to every human being on the face of the earth, especially the female part (but not only): it doesn't matter what we are told to be, in order to be loved. Doesn't matter that we apparently should behave in a certain way  to be accepted.  You should be beautiful, graceful, humble, thin, virtuous... this or that.  It doesn't matter what. We hear things like that every day, on the whole duration of our lives, and at some point we believe it to be true. Wadjda and her mother are examples of how perverse and dreadful those ideas (traps) are. At the end, what really matters is to be true to ourselves, despite all the social and religious and economic rules telling us how we should be in order to fit in. I'd rather be an outcast, actually. Sometimes, there isn't another way.

One palpable example? The director of this movie is no strange to the lack of equality and the pursuit of ways to overpass that kind of limitation. She is the first female saudi to direct a feature film - she had to direct the male actors by walkie-talkie, by the way. 

Wadjda. Directed and written by Haifaa Al-Mansour. With: Waad Mohammed,
Reem Abddullah, Abdullahman Al Gohani. Saudi Arabia/Germany/USA/United
Arab Emirates/Jordan/Netherlands,2012, 98 min., Dolby Digital, Color (DVD).

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