Letters from baghdad

Sat 2 & Tue 5 Sep

Directors: Sabine Krayenbühl, Zeva Oelbaum. USA/UK/France 2016. 95 mins.

Gertrude Bell was a pioneering English writer, archaeologist, diplomat and spy whose travels through the Arabian Desert gave her local knowledge unmatched by her British peers. Recruited by British military intelligence after the Great War, she played a significant, often unrecognised role in British imperial policy-making in the Middle East. Bell’s insights are a singular, prescient prism through which to understand both the Middle East and the all-male inner sanctum of British colonial power. Reflecting on the life, work and character of this remarkable woman, directors Oelbaum and Krayenbühl weave together a rich tapestry of fascinating archive footage, letters to her parents voiced by Tilda Swinton, and testimony from peers, including T. E. Lawrence and Vita Sackville-West. Though Bell’s words were written a century ago, their acute contemporary relevance is astonishing – and at times chilling.ry.






Nominated for the CINEMA OF THE YEAR Award 2016!