I couldn’t pass up this Iranian documentary about a young Afghan girl in Tehran, battling her family’s conservative plans to achieve her dream of being a rapper. In many ways it is like As I Open My Eyes made real. Sonita Alizadeh, like Farah in that movie, is young and idealistic, channeling her anger at the injustice she sees all around her into her song lyrics. For her it is the limitations placed on her as a young woman, destined to be married off by her Afghani family for a bride price, like so many other teenagers, and forbidden from performing.
Sonita’s journey through the film is quite engaging and there is some genuine drama as we see some opportunities open up for her, and understand the risks she must take. Her journey to Kabul shows us the differences between Iran and Afghanistan and the film maker does this elegantly, through some key visuals and interactions, not labouring the point.
The story gets lost a little in the middle. It felt like some false drama was added that really wasn’t needed, particularly when the film maker becomes part of the story. It has a nice trajectory though and you can’t help feeling optimistic.
Bechdel test – pass