Saudi Arabia’s 1st Feature Film Shows The Rise Of Feminism In Muslim Countries


Check it out women of the world, Saudi Arabia is about to release it’s very first home-made feature film, and it is a true testament to the message of feminism spreading through the cracks of the old male-dominated societies which still exist.

It is called ‘Wadjda’ and is about a young Saudi girl going against traditions to be able to ride her bike alongside other boys. Sounds kinda simplistic, but the notion of a young girl doing an activity in a country where young girls don’t ride bikes.

Wadjda is the central character whose school friend Abdullah snatches her hijab off her head one day while walking home from school. He taunts her with the line “Did you really think you could catch up with me?” to which Wajdja replies “If I had a bike,” Wadjda says. “We’ll see.”

The plot line is representative of a much bigger plight, how can Saudi girls keep up with Saudi men in general, when they don’t have the freedoms women in the west do?

They are taught to be polite, quiet, submissive and do as they are told, everything this young girl does NOT want to do. While the rest of her peers are preparing for marriage and to be the perfect bride, she dreams of a life of adventure.

This is the first feature length film to be shot in Saudi Arabia, and fittingly it is also directed by the country’s first female filmmaker, Haifaa Al Mansour. Because women aren’t allowed to publicly work with men in this country, she sometimes had to direct from inside a nearby building to avoid any public scandals. Well, she got the job done and soon the whole world will see a great story with an important message!

Wadjda sets out to acquire the coveted bicycle, first trying to make money by selling friendship bracelets at recess. The school principal, a sanctimonious woman, puts and end to this micro-business. But another opportunity is around the corner: The school is sponsoring a Quran recitation contest, whose cash prize will cover the cost of the bike. Wadjda studies with a video game that promises to teach scripture “the easy way,” and also starts getting riding lessons from Abdullah, out of sight on her rooftop. In the end her pluck pays off—but not the way she planned.

Al Mansour says the film is not meant to be an affront to middle eastern men, but to challenge the way people think.

“I don’t want to offend people or fight,” she tole the New York Times. “It’s more like: Tell them a story and have them feel it.”

“I know Saudi won’t change overnight,” she added later. “It will gradually, but not because of this film. I feel it’s very important to celebrate the right steps, the right changes, even if they are small. Like women riding bicycles.”

Haifaa Al Mansour

Check out the trailer below.


  1. This looks very interesting! It is hard for us in the west to even imagine what this repression is like. Such an odd way of thinking to us.

  2. Pingback: Saudi Arabia’s 1st Feature Film Shows The...

  3. Pingback: First Feature Film From Brunei 'Yasmine' Was Directed By A Woman

  4. Pingback: GirlTalkHQThe Real Reason We Need More Female Voices In Film & TV

  5. Pingback: 'We Do It Together' - The Production Co. Launched By A Coalition Of Hollywood Actresses - GirlTalkHQ

  6. Pingback: "Infidel" Female Eqyptian Rapper Speaking Up For Abused Women

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.