Letters from Baghdad tells the extraordinary story of Gertrude Bell, the most powerful woman in the British Empire of the 20th Century, who shaped the modern Middle East in ways that still reverberate today.
More influential than her friend and colleague Lawrence of Arabia, Bell helped draw the borders of Iraq and established the Iraq Museum, yet until now, she has been largely written out of history.
In this acclaimed documentary, Tilda Swinton's flawless narrative performance, combined with stunningly restored archive footage and Bell’s own photography, beautifully evoke both a lost time and place and the unfairly forgotten story of Bell's uncompromising, buccaneering exploits.
With efforts to establish a lasting peace in the Middle East becoming more important than ever, join us as we explore the cultural and political foundations of modern-day Iraq, and mark 150 years since Bell's birth, a unique woman who stood alone in a male-dominated world and whose ultimately tragic life helped to break down barriers for subsequent generations.
Professor Sir Adam Roberts, Emeritus Professor of International Relations at Oxford, will give an introductory talk to accompany the screening. Professor Roberts was President of the British Academy from 2009 until 2013, and was awarded a knighthood in 2002 for services to the study and practice of international relations. He has given expert advice to parliamentary committees, governments and non-governmental bodies in the UK and overseas.
Praise for Letters from Baghdad:
"a mesmerizinly immersive plunge into a time, place and cultural zeitgeist that feel simultaneously far away and of the moment"
"The contemporary relevance of Bell's words is astonishing, at times even chilling"
BFI London Film Festival