Letters from Baghdad

USA / 2016 / 95 minutes / NR

Voiced and executive produced by Academy award winning actor Tilda Swinton, Letters from Baghdad is a beautifully crafted documentary that tells the dramatic story of British spy, explorer and political powerhouse, Gertrude Bell, who, more influential than her friend and colleague Lawrence of Arabia, shaped the modern Middle East in ways that still reverberate today. Using never-seen-before footage of the region, the film chronicles Bell’s extraordinary journey into both the uncharted Arabian desert and the inner sanctum of British male colonial power. With unique access to documents from the Iraq National Library and Archive and Gertrude Bell’s own 1600 letters, the story is told entirely in the words of the players of the day, excerpted verbatim from intimate letters, private diaries and secret communiqués.


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  • Director

    Sabine Krayenbühl Zeva Oelbaum

  • Producer

    Zeva Oelbaum

  • Cast

    Tilda Swinton

  • "In an age of a rebooted Wonder Woman, Bell is the real thing, intrepid, fierce and smart. Letters From Baghdad reaffirms Bell’s legacy as pivotal in the West’s understanding of the Middle East."

    The Los Angeles Times
  • "A finely wrought documentary... serves as a handy summary for those who want a cinematic introduction to Bell’s sprawling, singular story."

    The Guardian
  • "A sturdy, often exhilarating bridge between the present and a past that not only isn’t distant, but isn’t even really past."

    The Washington Post
  • "A superb documentary about one of history’s most amazing women, until now, largely forgotten…A daring, provocative film."

    CBS
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