In May 2014 the University of North Texas presented its second annual Arab Film Festival Texas, a three-day event that brings together filmmakers and audiences at one of the region’s most popular art house cinemas. This year the festival’s curator and founder, the filmmaker and professor Tania Khalaf, included a variety of films that engaged with Arab women’s contemporary lives. I have selected four of the eighteen screened films for this review; all of them address the impacts of cultural, social, and political forces on girls’ and women’s lives, albeit in varying ways. Furthermore, each film is an emotionally engaging, well-crafted, and thought-provoking study of specific female lives in diverse Arab contexts.

Of the four films under review, Wadjda has received the most international attention to date. Noteworthy for being the first movie ever filmed entirely in the...

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