Firstly, I would like to thank Sarah Smallwood for arranging this movie night at Gray Owl Coffee and thank Gray Owl Coffee for allowing us to set up this event at their location.
Wadjda is a Saudi Arabian film that showcases a small part of the life of an eleven-year-old Saudi girl. She struggles to fully express herself in an environment where the people constantly criticize and question her passions based on her gender. As I was watching this film, I found myself smiling at times because of Wadjda’s sweet yet daring personality; however, I also felt my face warm up at times because of the way the men in the film treated women and spoke to them.
Foreign films are quite eye-opening because not only do they focus on a very specific issue/topic, but they also relay their message in a very concise manner due to the cultural differences between the audience and the characters in the films.
Since I have spent more than half of my life in the Middle East and have traveled to a few countries in that region, I was able to understand the characters and some of Wadjda’s struggles better than those who have never lived in the Middle East. One scene that comes to mind is the scene where the girls brought nail polish to the school and were putting it on in secret. This scene reminded me of my own childhood, because we were not allowed to wear nail polish/makeup to school due to strict rules in the school environment.
If you have not watched this film, I suggest you give it a try. Wadjda’s persistence and likable character will keep you interested throughout this short film. Here is the trailer: