98 minutes, Saudi Arabia, Germany, 2012, Colour, D-Cinema

Screening Exclusively at the IFI.

Wadjda is a bright and mischievous young tomboy living in Riyadh. After a disagreement with her friend Abdullah, she is determined to prove herself his better. When she spots a beautiful green bike for sale, she recognises it as the ideal vehicle on which she can assert her superiority and beat Abdullah in a race. Yet her mother fears that cycling is not an appropriate activity for a Muslim girl, and Wadjda has no money. Ever resourceful, she sets about trying to raise cash. Taking part in a Koran recitation competition gives her a chance of bagging the loot she needs.

The first film to emerge from Saudi Arabia directed by a woman, Wadjda is a heart-warming yet gently subversive coming-of-age tale that reveals the role of women in Saudi society. Haifaa al-Mansour proves herself both a debut director of significance and a courageous pioneer. (Notes by Michael Hayden.)

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