Shara JJ Cooper
By Shara JJ Cooper
April 22nd, 2014

Spotlight Films presents the 10th film of our 10th season! 


Tuesday, April 29th

7:30 pm @ The Gem Theatre

Greetings to all Spotlight Films members, sponsors, and friends: 

On Tuesday, April 29th Spotlight Films will be screening our last film of this season, Wadjda!  What a great film to have as our 100th screening!  This films promises to be very inspiring.  Filmed entirely in Saudi Arabia, it tells the story of a young girl’s challenge to buy a bicycle.  More amazing is that, in a country where women have restricted rights and cinema has long been banned, it is the first ever film written and directed by a Saudi woman, Haifaa Al-Mansour! The  critics at Rotten Tomatoes give it an amazing 99%! To view the movie trailer click here or as always you can refer to the TIFF synopsis at the end of this email. 

Our next feature, Nebraska will be screening on Tuesday, May 27th. “This new film by Alexander Payne (Sideways, The Descendants) sees the director returning to his home state for this wry, bittersweet comedy-drama about an elderly man and his middle-aged son who embark on a quixotic road trip across the American heartland.”  It stars Bruce Dern as the confused father who sets out on a journey to claim a million-dollar sweepstake win and Will Forte as the frustrated son who accompanies him. As next month is the start of our 11th season we will be selling season memberships at the door.  More info to follow.   

We now have a Facebook page. Check us out (Spotlight Films) and “like” us so others in the community can see what great films we bring to GF!  Even if you are not a FaceBook member you can access the information groups offer on their sites.

REMEMBER:  If you are a Spotlight Films member and can’t make a show, you can always lend your season’s pass to a friend.  

See you at the movies! 


Saudi Arabia’s first-ever submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award, Haifaa Al-Mansour’s Wadjda—which is not only the country’s first film by a female director, but one of the first features ever shot in Saudi Arabia—is a deceptively simple story about a determined 10-year-old girl who dreams of owning a bicycle, and is willing to do just about anything to obtain it.

An energetic, fun-loving, and entrepreneurial girl living in a suburb of the Saudi capital of Riyadh, Wadjda (newcomer Waad Mohammed) constantly pushes against the boundaries of her conservative community, wearing high-top Converse sneakers under the long-robed abaya uniform forced upon her by her strict religious school, and clandestinely listening to underground pop–music stations in her equally strict home. After a fight with her friend Abdullah, Wadjda sees a beautiful green bicycle for sale and becomes determined to buy it in order to beat Abdullah in a race. However, Wadjda’s mother (Reem Abdullah), fearing repercussions from a society that sees bicycles as dangerous to a girl’s virtue, forbids her. Undeterred, Wadjda decides to try and raise the required 800 riyals herself by entering a Qur’an contest at her school that offers a cash prize.

Cinemas have been banned in Saudi Arabia since the 1980s, and it is only recently that this policy has been relaxed (and then only for special holidays). As with such celebrated directors of the Iranian New Wave as Abbas Kiarostami and Jafar Panahi, who used stories about children to obliquely critique and comment upon their comparably repressive society, Al-Mansour employs Wadjda’s quest to offer a window into women’s lives under an authoritarian regime—and in her high-spirited heroine’s resourcefulness and determination, she shows the irresistible yearning for change that emerges from even the most seemingly hopeless situation. Charming, touching and inspirational, Wadjda is a must-see.


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