Objet d’Art – Riding Uphill: The Shifting Symbolism of Wadjda’s Bicycle

Wadjda - Waad MohammedIn Objet d’Art, we take a look at the use of inanimate objects in film and music and their changing meanings, aesthetics and emotional purpose in different contexts.

The bicycle is a potent, versatile symbol of freedom. It’s a symbol of the freedom of unconfined, joyful movement – in The Muppet Movie, the miraculous freedom from puppet strings. In Vittorio De Sica’s Bicycle Thieves, it represents financial freedom, the opportunity to support one’s family, while for The Kid with a Bike, that bike promises the false freedom of autonomy. Haifaa Al Mansour’s Wadjda has a bicycle as its focal symbol, but while it is indebted to De Sica’s neo-realist classic in imagery and aesthetic, the way it recontextualises the bicycle’s symbolism over the course of the film provides insight into the idea of freedom in modern Saudi Arabia.

Continue reading at The Essential.

2 thoughts on “Objet d’Art – Riding Uphill: The Shifting Symbolism of Wadjda’s Bicycle

  1. Great commentary, as always. Completely agreed that the bicycle’s symbolism shifts ever so slightly, in some powerfully subtle ways.

    One of the many reasons I love this movie!

    • Thanks man. I actually threw this together quite last minute, as I originally intended to talk about the blue box in Mulholland Drive but realised I was biting off more than you could chew. So I’m glad you liked it!

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