"Wadjda," which hits theaters stateside today, has been selected as Saudi Arabia's official entry for the Foreign-Language Oscar. Directed by Haifaa Al Mansour, the film is both the first to be made inside the Kindgom of Saudi Arabia, and the first to be made by a woman filmmaker.
The film centers on a young girl, Wadjda (played by Waad Mohammed), who dreams of owning a bicycle. Even though riding bikes is frowned upon for women in Wadjda's culture, she hatches various schemes to raise the money, including entering a Koran recital competition with a cash prize. Meanwhile, Wadjda's mother deals the with the pressure of her husband considering a second wife.
The film debuted in Venice last year and has been a hit on the festival circuit since. Sony Pictures Classics is its stateside distributor.
Check out our TOH! interview with director Haifaa Al Mansour here.
The five nominations will be announced January 16; the Oscars will take place on March 2, 2014.