Entertainment

Vernon Film Society opens season with Saudi Arabia’s Wadjda

Waad Mohammed plays young Saudi girl Wadjda, who enters a Qur’an recital contest at her school in order to win a green bicycle. - Mongrel Media
Waad Mohammed plays young Saudi girl Wadjda, who enters a Qur’an recital contest at her school in order to win a green bicycle.
— image credit: Mongrel Media

The Vernon Film Society has an exciting lineup of movies for the New Year and programs are now available at the Vernon library, art gallery, Bean Scene, and the Towne Theatre.

The first movie to be shown Monday, Jan. 6 is Wadjda, which is the first film from Saudi Arabia to be directed by a woman, Haifaa Al-Mansour.

This film is the country’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2014 Oscars and has been very well received wherever it has played.

The movie tells the story of a 10- year-old girl, Wadjda, who desperately wants to buy a green bicycle and how she quietly goes about winning the money to do so by entering a competition at her school for reading the Qur’an.

Her mother and teacher disapprove of her wish, but she shows she knows how to play by the rules even though her wish is not the usual one for a young Saudi woman.

She wears Converse high tops under her traditional garb — a handy visual metaphor for the film itself, some critics have said. The director is not criticizing the regime and the way of life of Saudi women, but shows how things are changing and that changes do not necessarily come from large actions, but from individuals who know what they want and are prepared to work with the system.

This high spirited heroine’s resourcefulness and determination point out the irresistible yearning for change that emerges from even the most seemingly hopeless situation.

This funny, romantic drama has been chosen by Henry Barnes of The Guardian as one of his top 10 movies of 2013 and is bound to be a crowd pleaser.

Tickets are $7, available at the Towne Theatre and Bean Scene one week prior to the show. Screenings are at 5:15 and 7:45 p.m. The film is in Arabic with English subtitles.

 

 

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