Letters From Baghdad, which premiered at the BFI London Film Festival 2016, will arrive in UK cinemas April 21. The documentary tells the extraordinary life of Gertrude Bell (voiced by Tilda Swinton) who has been dubbed the “female” Lawrence of Arabia.
Verve Pictures and Between The Rivers Productions are delighted to announce that their documentary Letters From Baghdad, about the extraordinary life and times of Gertrude Bell with Tilda Swinton featuring as her voice, will be released in UK cinemas from April 21 2017.
Having premiered in the UK at the BFI London Film Festival 2016, Letters From Baghdad is the story of a true original — Gertrude Bell — sometimes called the “female” Lawrence of Arabia. Voiced and executive produced by Academy award winning actor Tilda Swinton, the film tells the dramatic story of this British spy, explorer and political powerhouse. Letters From Baghdad tells the extraordinary and dramatic story of the most powerful woman in the British Empire in her day. She shaped the destiny of Iraq after World War I in ways that still reverberate today. More influential than her friend and colleague Lawrence of Arabia, why has she been written out of the history she helped make?
Bell travelled widely in Arabia before being recruited by British military intelligence during WWI to help draw the borders of Iraq and as a result helped shape the modern Middle East. Using stunning, never-seen-before footage of the region, the film chronicles her extraordinary journey into both the uncharted Arabian desert and the inner sanctum of British colonial power. What makes the film stand apart is that the story is told entirely in the words of Gertrude Bell and her contemporaries, excerpted from their intimate letters, private diaries and official documents. It is a unique look at both a remarkable woman and the tangled history of Iraq. The film takes us into a past that is eerily current.
Directors Zeva Oelbaum and Sabine Krayenbühl said: “We are thrilled to be able to screen “Letters From Baghdad” in UK cinemas. It’s long overdue for Gertrude Bell to be brought back into the public eye in the UK, after being written out of history for over half a century.”