Letters From Baghdad

Zeva Oelbaum, Sabine Krayenbühl (2016)

Tilda Swinton, Rose Leslie, Paul McGann Rated PG Run time 95 mins

Letters from Baghdad is the story of Gertrude Bell the female Lawrence of Arabia. Voiced and executive produced by Tilda Swinton, the documentary tells the dramatic story of this British spy, explorer and political powerhouse. Bell travelled in Arabia before being recruited by British intelligence to draw the borders of Iraq after WWI in ways that still reverberate today. Using never-seen-before footage the film chronicles Bell’s extraordinary journey into the desert and the inner sanctum of colonial power. With documents from the Iraq National Library and Archive and Bell’s own 1600 letters the story is told in the words of the players. It is a unique look at both a remarkable woman and the history of Iraq.

83% – Rotten Tomatoes

“A carefully researched documentary that uses an extraordinary wealth of appealing archival footage accompanied by Tilda Swinton’s voiceover as Bell.”

“An honest, thoughtful tribute to the woman who not only carved new boundaries on the map but also redrew the boundaries of what women were considered to be capable of.”

“Letters From Baghdad” shows Iraq through eyes of British female explorer and spy who shaped it – Reuters