Friday, August 09, 2013

Review of Wadjda

This is the only Saudi film I've ever seen (well, a Saudi-German co-production) and it was thoroughly depressing. It focused on the life of a young girl in Riyadh, who is a bit of a tomboy and wants to have a bike so that she can race with a her young male friend - they are both about ten.

The depiction of the life of women - young and old - is so sad, and so oppressive, that it for once made me feel ashamed to be male. Every aspect of life is controlled and repressed; most of the repressing is done by other women - teachers, parents - and most of it is about conforming to an impossible code of modesty and honour.

Some of the posters for the film (not the one on the right, they must have used a different one in the UK) give the impression that there is a certain coming-of-age, feel-good dimension to the film; they show the girl's foot on the pedal of the bike. Actually it's nothing like that at all, just unremitting misery for most of the running time. The closest thing to it is The Handmaiden's Tale, except that this is real, not science fiction.

Good thing that the EDL are not smart enough to organise sponsored showings all over the country. It's hard to feel warm about Islam after watching this. Just as well that I know that the Wahhabism  that the Saudis are successfully spreading throughout the Muslim world is not the only kind that there is.

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