Groundbreaking cinema from Saudi director

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Waad Mohammed stars as Wadjda in the movie Wadjda, the latest film from the Whanganui Film Society.
Waad Mohammed stars as Wadjda in the movie Wadjda, the latest film from the Whanganui Film Society.

Sassy Wadjda has a very 10-year-old wish: she wants to beat the boy next door in a bicycle race.

But for Wadjda [Waad Mohammed] this is not such an easy goal as she lives a repressed life with her family in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Wadjda is the latest screening from the Whanganui Film Society - and it is a particularly unique film. It is not only the first full-length film to be entirely shot in Saudi Arabia (a country in which cinema is banned) it's also the first feature directed anywhere by a Saudi woman, Haifaa Al Mansour.

The Telegraph reviewer, Robbie Collin, notes that Al Mansour was often restricted while shooting the film.

"Al Mansour reveals in the film's production notes that she often had to direct from her production van via walkie-talkie," he said.

"Modest as it may look, this is boundary-pushing cinema in all the best ways, and what a thrill it is to hear those boundaries creak."

Wadjda will screen at the Davis Theatre at 7pm on September 19. This screening is open to Whanganui Film Society members only.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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