New Wave

How a haircut kept Saudi Arabian filmmaker Haifaa al-Mansour from embracing the idea of jihad.

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Director Haifaa al-Mansour is often called brave, and she is. She is the brilliant mind behind Wadjda, about a Saudi girl's quest to purchase a forbidden bicycle, and Women Without Shadows, a documentary about women in the Arab world. Her bravery shines through her subjects, her narratives, and her boundary-breaking — Wadjda is the first feature film made by a female Saudi director. For Lenny, she made us a comic about one of her first rebellions.

—Mikki Halpin

Haifaa al-Mansour is the first female filmmaker in Saudi Arabia, whose films include the 2005 documentary Women Without Shadows, and Wadjda. She recently published a novelization of the film titled The Green Bicycle, and is currently working on the forthcoming A Storm in the Stars, based on the life of Mary Shelley.

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