What Walaa Wants

Close Up Sisters
Director: Christy Garland | Countries of production: Canada, Denmark | Year: 2015 | Length: 86 min
Language: Arabic with English subtitles | Certificate: 12A Cert
Genres: Documentary | | Regions: Palestine

Raised in a refugee camp in the West Bank while her mother was in prison, Walaa dreams of being a policewoman, wearing a uniform, avoiding marriage, and earning a salary. Despite warnings that ‘no women should be in the army’ and that she’ll bring shame on the family, she applies – and gets in. But her own rebellious behaviour and a complicated relationship with her mother are a challenge, as are the circumstances under which she lives.

Following Walaa from 15 to 21, with an intimate POV and the exuberant energy of its subject, this first-ever look inside the Palestinian police academy brings us the story about a young woman navigating formidable obstacles, learning which rules to break and follow, and disproving the negative predictions from her surroundings and the world at large.

“It is refreshing to see a film that portrays such a proud, resilient, young Palestinian woman. You will remember Walaa.”
“A classic coming-of-age story with a girl-power message.”