Saudi director blazes a trail with coming-of-age tale ‘Wadjda’
TELLURIDE, Colo. (MCT) — Wearing high-top tennis shoes and headphones, 11-year-old Wadjda doesn’t look like much of a revolutionary.
But in filmmaker Haifaa Mansour’s new Saudi Arabian movie, the young girl is just that — as is Mansour herself.
Having had its North American premiere at the just-concluded Telluride Film Festival, “Wadjda” has become one of the event’s most talked-about movies, as much as for what’s on screen as for how the story was brought to the screen.
The first Saudi feature directed by a woman, “Wadjda” was made entirely inside the repressive country. Owing to strict religious edicts, Mansour occasionally had to direct her actors from inside a van some 100 feet from her set, lest she be seen mingling with men, and she received death threats for an earlier documentary that focused on young women like Wadjda who are willing to buck Islamic tradition.
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