Director: Haifaa Al-Mansour
Saudi Arabia/Germany 2013
Arabic (subtitled); 98 min
February 2nd @ 7:00pm – Galaxy Cinema
A high-spirited girl living in Saudi Arabia, Wadjda (Waad Mohammed) constantly pushes against the boundaries of her conservative community, wearing Converse sneakers under the long-robed uniform of her strict religious school and clandestinely listening to pop music in her equally strict home. When she sees a beautiful bike for sale, Wadjda is undeterred by society’s view that bicycles are dangerous to a girl’s virtue, and decides to enter a Qur’an contest to raise the required 800 riyals.
A deceptively simple story, Wadjda offers a window into women’s lives under an authoritarian regime and shows the irresistible yearning for change that emerges from even a seemingly hopeless situation. Charming, touching, and inspirational, this film is a must-see.
Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “This delightful debut feature by a Saudi woman named Haifaa Al-Mansour uses a bicycle as a metaphor for freedom within a social circumference.”
Cynthia Fuchs, PopMatters: “A series of close and long shots follow as Wadjda rides and wobbles, as she grins broadly and gains momentum in this tiny space, as she shares her glee with Abdullah. Even without using their voices, they express so much.”
Jim Lane, Sacramento News & Review: “The movie ends on a highly emotional note that might easily have tipped over into bathos. But Al-Mansour knows her stuff — she earns her emotion honestly.”
Country: Canada / India Director: Richie Mehta Lead Voices: Rajesh Tailang, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Anurag Arora, Naseeruddin Shah Genre: drama Runtime: 96 minutes Rating: PG Language: Hindi
From the director of Amal comes this powerful and heart-rending tale about a poor Delhi street merchant desperately searching for his missing young son. Mahendra (Rajesh Tailang) sends his 12-year-old son, Siddharth, to work in a factory in another province to help support tir family. Siddharth is supposed to come home for Diwali after a month away. When he fails to return or call, the guilt-ridden Mahendra takes swift action but faces obstacles at every turn. Mahendra’s moving, tangled, and often seemingly futile quest reveals a community that is poor in so many ways, yet rich in family and love. Riddled with mysteries, Siddharth is a powerful story about the ramifications of a single decision and the limitations that result from poverty.
Kent Turner, Film-Forward.com:“Shot on the fly throughout India, Siddharth, the second feature film by Canadian director Richie Mehta, was inspired by a conversation the director had with a Mumbai rickshaw driver, whose son had vanished without a trace. Though Mehta doesn’t downplay the horrifying scenario, he calmly concentrates on the father….Much of the cast are non-professional, beautifully blending in with the lead actors.”
Todd Brown, TIFF 2013 review: “Mehta has the poised confidence to simply portray life as it is for Mehendra without calling undue attention. Everywhere you look you will find detail upon detail.”
Neil Young, The Hollywood Reporter: “Warmly received in both Venice and Toronto, this quietly impassioned indictment of child-labor takes its time to get going but then builds steadily to a surprisingly strong finale.”