Writer-director Haifaa Al Mansour’s first feature film—a touching comedy-drama about a 10-year-old Saudi girl and her dream of owning a bicycle—is a milestone in many ways. It was the first feature filmed entirely in Saudi Arabia, the first film created by a female Saudi director, and the first film submitted by the nation for what was then called the Foreign Language Feature Oscar. With its spirited lead performance by first-time actor Waad Mohammed and a gentle score by acclaimed composer Max Richter (Waltz with Bashir), Wadjda is a family entertainment that lets audiences see a world too rarely depicted on screen.

DIRECTED/WRITTEN BY: Haifaa Al Mansour. WITH: Reem Abdullah, Waad Mohammed, Abdullrahman Algohani, Ahd. 2012. 98 min. Saudi Arabia/Netherlands/Germany/Jordan/United Arab Emirates/USA. Color. Arabic. Rated PG; recommended for ages 9+. DCP.

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