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Films: Wadjda and YPJ Kurdish Female Fighters: A Day in Syria

December 18, 2014 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm


Wadjda, the first film made by a female Saudi filmmaker, is the story of a spirited young girl living in a suburb of Riyadh. Wadjda (Waad Mohammed) is determined to buy a bike so she can race against her friend Abdullah. But in conservative Riyadh we are told, girls do not ride bikes; they are regarded as dangerous to a girl’s virtue. And, as a girl on the edge of puberty, she shouldn’t really be playing with Abdullah in any case. But she does, cheerfully and with cursory regard for mum’s fretting or the disapproval of her staunchly traditionalist teacher. What’s more, she enters a Qur’an-reading competition to win the money to buy the longed-for bike.

In a country where women cannot drive or vote and cinemas are virtually banned, writer-director Haifaa al-Mansour had to overcome many barriers to make this film; in more conservative neighbourhoods of Riyadh for example, she was obliged to direct
scenes from inside a van, communicating via two-way radio. Wadjda may be funny and romantic but it hides a political edge that never soft-pedals its push for reform.

Plus film short

YPJ Kurdish Female Fighters: A Day in Syria | Rozh Ahmad | 25 mins | August 2014
Female fighters of the pro-Kurdish Yekineyen Parastina Jin (Women Protection Units, or YPJ) tell their stories, their experiences, why they joined and what they fight for in this women-only militia amid the civil war in Syria.


December 18, 2014
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
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Haringey Independent Cinema

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