Review – Sonita (Documentary – 2015)

film reviews | movies | features | BRWC Review - Sonita (Documentary - 2015)

Presented with English Subtitles.

This real-life documentary from director Rokhsareh Ghaemmaghami follows the every-day life of Afghan refugee Sonita Alizadeh; now living in Iran.

 She faces the oppressive traditions of her culture that have been imposed on her by her family. She dreams of a different life and a career as a rap singer; quite opposed to what is expected of her.



There is no set story-line here and the film allows Sonita to tell her own story. It is refreshing to not have the footage broken up with talking-heads however these long, drawn-out sections can at times lose the pace. Where there are interview style sections these are very in-formal and Sonita responds in typical stand-offish teenager style.

Sonita

Sonita

Shot mostly unobtrusively and in almost fully ‘fly-on-the-wall‘ style; the film allows the subject to speak for herself and lets us into her world. The story is made perhaps even more powerful and culturally significant not only because it features a female at the centre but also it was shot by a female director.

An insightful look at the real-life of a refugee struggling against the traditions of her culture.

Sonita Alizadeh is an Afghan rapper and activist who has been vocal against forced marriages. Alizadeh first gained attention when she released “Brides for Sale,” a video in which she raps about daughters being sold into marriage by their families. By help of Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami, an Iranian documentary filmmaker who over three years, documented her remarkable story in the film Sonita, Alizadeh filmed the video to escape a marriage her parents were planning for her, even though it is illegal for women to sing publicly in Iran, where she was living at the time.  After releasing the video on YouTube, Alizadeh was contacted by the Strongheart Group, who offered her a student visa to study in the United States, where she currently resides.


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Ben started out as a technology blogger before branching out into writing about Film & TV. An obsessive fan of indie film & dark comedies you will probably find him waxing lyrical about the movies of Kevin Smith, The Coen Brothers, Robert Rodriguez or Quentin Tarantino.

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