Saudi Arabia, a country that still forbids its women citizens to arrive, has submitted its first-ever feature film for Academy Award consideration: "Wadjda," a critically acclaimed triumph from female Saudi filmmaker Haifaa Al-Mansour.
Pic, which follows a 10-year-old girl in Riyadh who dreams of owning a bicycle, is not just Saudi Arabia's first stab at Oscar. It is the first full-length film ever made in the desert kingdom, which has no movie theaters and no production infrastructure to speak of. The movie's success, says Al-Mansour, is a sign that Saudi Arabia's mores are shifting.
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