Wadjda director Haifaa al-Mansour: “I wanted to have a voice”


Haifaa al-Mansour, breaking ground as a Saudi Arabian woman making movies — her wonderfully Wadjda opened in the U.K. this past Friday — talks to Horatia Harrod at The Telegraph:

It’s hard to imagine becoming a filmmaker in a country with no cinemas. It’s especially hard if that country is Saudi Arabia, and you happen to be a woman, forbidden to drive, or show your face in public, or travel in or out of the country without permission.

She says, ‘I felt, “I’m so invisible, nobody cares and I am no one.” I wanted to have a voice, and I wanted to say something.’

Al-Mansour laughs easily, and seems almost blasé about the risks of what she is doing. ‘When you start to be a public figure in Saudi, especially if you are a woman, you expect things like this.’

Despite the death threats and hate mail, al-Mansour’s intention is ‘to be gentle, not confrontational’, she says.

Unfortunately, you don’t need to live in a repressive place like Saudi Arabia to feel, as a woman, that you don’t have a voice, or that you’ll get hate mail if you speak out.

Read the whole interview at The Telegraph. And see Wadjda!

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