LIFF: Girls of the Sun Review: ‘Women, Life, Liberty’

Following on from her indie debut feature film Bang Gang, Director Eva Husson’s second feature film is one of the latest to be shown at the Leeds International Film Festival 2018. Husson felt compelled to tell this story stating: ‘When I read about these women who refused to be oppressed and taking arms and refusing to be victims, I thought that this was a universal story. It’s not just about the Kurdish women and Yezidi women, and the people from there; it’s about all of us as women.’

Girls of the Sun, originally titled Les Filles du Soleil, is nothing short of a stunning war movie conveying a clear and sincere feminist message. Shining a light on a battalion of female Kurdish soldiers as they rally together and attempt to liberate their hometown from Islamic State, Girls of the Sun emphasises female degradation at every turn. The femme-centric cast, crew and subject matter was inspiring and empowering for both men and women alike.

Golshifteh Farahani (Paterson) plays Bahar, a former hostage turned military leader whose stand out performance was flawless. Rooted in pain and emotion the story unfolds through flashbacks surrounding her capture, struggles and escape before focusing on the troop of girls she leads to eventual victory. Cannes Best Actress winner Emmanuelle Bercot co-stars as journalist Mathilde who is embedded with the female fighters drawn inextricably to conflict.

The stunning scenery (if you can call rubble filled streets and destroyed buildings that) was truly breathtaking, with wide pan scenic shots used in between the narrative throughout. Husson plays with light time and time again, displaying a passionate film that combines classic war flick with real life female empowerment stories that has the audience fighting back tears.

Image courtesy of Leeds International Film Festival