Movie poster for ‘Wadjda.’ Courtesy photo
Review by KELLY DOLEJSI
It’s no surprise that current-day Saudi Arabia looks oppressive when seen through a young girl’s eyes. More startling are the small ways that sweeping political change can begin.
An award-winner at film festivals around the world, “Wadjda” (2012, rated PG, subtitled), is one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time. It’s a wonderful choice for this month’s installment of Mesa Public Library’s Free Film Series, screening 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the upstairs meeting-room theater.
The title character, played by Waad Mohammed, doesn’t want to change the world. Like most 10-year-olds, she’s concerned with more selfish desires. She wants to listen to the music she likes. She wants her own money. She wants her father to love her. Most of all, she wants to beat her friend Abdullah (Abdullrahman Al Gohani) in a bicycle race.
But of course, in her conservative country, this is impossible. Girls cannot ride bikes. She’s already pushing the limits by being friends with Abdullah, a boy.
Nevertheless, she sets out to buy herself a perfect green bicycle, and she goes to revolutionary lengths, with revolutionary boldness, to get it. Wadjda wouldn’t think of her actions in these terms, but like her brave and frustrated mother (Reem Abdullah), anyone watching the film knows far more than a bicycle is at stake.
Director Haifaa Al-Mansour’s “Wadjda” suggests important changes start at the bottom, with individuals pursuing our own small dreams.
Thursday’s show is part of the Free Film Series, which brings movies to the library’s big screen on the first Thursday of nearly every month. Check out next month’s film, “The Book Thief,” on Dec. 3.
All screenings are free, thanks to the Friends of Los Alamos County Libraries.
For more information, call the library at 505.662.8240 or check online at http://www.losalamosnm.us/library/Pages/default.aspx under “Upcoming Events.”