Wednesday, January 27, 2016


Sonita Alizadeh. Please click to enlarge.
    Director: Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami
    Country: Iran, Germany, Switzerland
    Year: 2015
    Length: 90­ min
    Rating: S
    Format: DCP
    Cinematography: Behrouz Badrouj, Ali Mohammad Ghasemi, Mohammad Haddadi, Arastoo Givi, Torben Bernard, Ala Mohseni, Parviz Arefi
    Editing: Rune Schweitzer
    Audio: Benjamin Benoit
    Music: Moritz Denis
    Production: Kerstin Krieg & Gerd Haag/Tag Traum, Aline Schmid/Intermezzo Films, Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami
Languages: Pashto, English, Persian
Subtitles: English
     Screener link viewed at DocPoint, Helsinki.
    © 2015 Tag/Traum, Intermezzo Films, Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami.
    Music: Sonita Alizadeh.
    Kinopalatsi 7: Wednesday 27.1. at 19:15, Savoy Theatre: Thursday 28.1. at 19:00

Festival catalogue and website: "18-year old Sonita is an Afghan refugee living in Iran. She is a rebel, a woman who won’t submit, who won’t be sold. She wants to be a rap artist and with words as her weapons she fights for a world, where young girls won’t be sold as wives to old men. She is no stranger to forced marriage herself. Her family back in Afghanistan needs money desperately and her marriage would help the situation."

"With her guts and talent, she manages to buy herself more time and continue pursuing her dreams. She is helped by a resourceful network of friends, who won’t leave her in trouble. One of them is the director Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami, does much more than just films the events."

"This is a documentary for the women and it sings with a woman’s voice. It is a story of a woman singing about women’s rights in a country where women are forbidden to sing. This is also a documentary for the women, who have no hope for anything better. There are many of them among Sonita’s friends and she knows their pain. And this is also a film for the mothers. It echoes with a tradition that Sonita can’t respect, even when it is proclaimed by a person she loves almost unconditionally.
" Suvi Annola / Translation: Tuomo Karvonen

AA: A powerful socially engaged film, a memorable portrait documentary, a distinguished music film including a remarkable music video performance, an Afghan rap film.

The young Sonita is a refugee from Afghanistan to Iran since 11 years. She lives without personal ID papers. She fulfills her dream to make a rap video. The result is excellent, and there is an option to perform in the U.S., but for that she needs papers. So she returns to Afghanistan at great risk. There nothing has changed. She does get a passport and performs in the U.S.

We learn to know the story of Sonita's large family and the circumstances of living as a refugee when the basic conditions of life are precarious.

We learn understand the everyday violence against women. Girls can be sold for marriage, and they get beaten and abused at will. Against all that Sonita raps.

Sonita's video "Bride For Sale" is worth revisiting. It is simple and powerful.

The main location is Teheran, but in the last part of the film there is a return to Herat and Kabul, and the very finale takes place in Utah.

The main source of the emotion and the power of the movie is the soulful, agonized and resilient presence of Sonita Alizadeh.

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