Letters From Baghdad
Director: Sabine Krayenbuh, Zeva Oelbaum
Cast: Amnat Haj Ahmed, Adam Astill, Tom Chadbon, Tilda Swinton (voice)
Country of Origin: UK-USA-France 2016 95 mins. (PG)
Released by Verve Pictures
Gertrude Bell, writer, diplomat, archaeologist and spy, the fearless female Lawrence of Arabia, is the story of legends. Sabine Krayenbuhl and Zeva Oelbaum's fascinating documentary 'Letters From Baghdad' offers an insight into the life, work and character of this remarkable woman whose love and intimate knowledge of Arabia led her to be recruited by British Intelligence after World War I where she played a pivotal role in the British Government's policy in the Middle East, notably Iraq. Drawing on archive material, Gertrude Bell's writings, letters to her parents, voiced by Tilda Swinton and testimony from her peers including TE Lawrence and Vita Sackville-West, the relevance of her understanding of Arabia and the result of British colonial policy of the time is reflected in contemporary press coverage and the on-going slaughter.