I’m so glad I saw Wadjda. Not because it’s the first feature-length Saudi Arabian film to be directed by a woman. Not because it’s the story of a beautiful child that tugs at your heart from the moment you see her on screen. And certainly not because it whispers through veiled references, the innumerable atrocities inflicted upon women on an everyday basis in a country where patriarchy assumes despotic, tyrannical proportions, reminding us of all thats beautiful in our lives.
I liked Wadjda because it celebrates unadulterated hope.
12 year old Wadjda is always getting into trouble at school for not adhering to Saudi customs regarding ‘appropriate’ behavior for girls. Unable to rein in either her wayward head scarf or her dreams, she longs to own a bike even though girls riding bikes are frowned upon. She is spunky, bright and all-round adorable. She makes mix tapes and bracelets from yarn and sings songs with her mother in the kitchen. Her mother is a beautiful young woman who is trying desperately to keep her husband from taking another wife. Mother and daughter, cooped up in their house over long afternoons, take turns consoling and encouraging each other. In the end, one dream gets shattered even as another one is kept alive.
K and I both walked out from the film silent and lost in thought. I couldn’t stop thinking how much we take for granted in our everyday lives. I often get so caught up in my desire for a child, rolling my anguish up into a huge great ball of magnified suffering, that I tend to ignore everything else thats good and beautiful in my life. Right now.
Did the movie make my situation any better or quell the intense craving I have for a baby? Not really. But did it make for a sobering realization that life has to be enjoyed every day, every moment for what it’s worth? Absolutely.
Go see Wadjda!!