girls of the sun
DIRECTOR: eva husson (bang gang: a modern love story)
starring: Golshifteh Farahani, Emmanuelle Bercot, ZUbeyde Bulut, and Evin Ahmad
REVIEWER: lyall carter
A Kurdish female battalion prepares to take back their town from extremists.
When you go to a couple of films a week combined with not being terribly well organised and with two film previews happening at the same time with 'Girl' in the title if you're anything like me you end up at the wrong preview screening. Realizing my embarrassing mistake I rushed out of the wrong cinema and into the correct one. I'm so glad I didn't just hunker down and watch the wrong film (although I'm sure it was great) because Girls of the Sun is a film that people should not miss.
Bahar is the leader of the Girls of the Sun, a battalion of women in Kurdistan who are fighting women against extremists who have conquered their small Kurdish town. She hopes that in the process she will find her son, who is being held hostage. Mathilde, a French journalist, comes along to cover the attack and report the story of these exceptional warriors. With their lives turned upside down, they both are fighting for the same causes: women, life and liberty.
We are introduced to this world through Mathilde a war correspondent that is very much based on Marie Colvin, eye patch and all. Having seen the Rosamund Pike brilliantly portray Colvin in A Private War early this year this led to a little confusion initially but it was quickly cleared up. We enter the conflict zone with Mathilde, being introduced to the Girls of the Sun and their leader, Bahar.
Its in the dynamic and similarities between Mathilde and Bahar's story of loss that Girls of the Sun is at its most compelling. Bahar's backstory is horrific, but this growing relationship between the two characters is at the very heart of the film.
Narratively the film loses a little bit of structure when it departs from that relationship to delve into Bahar's backstory, but it maintains the audience's avid engagement through its brutality and Bahar's bid for freedom from her captors.
The combat sequences are taunt and tense; you'll be gripping both arm rests in an attempt to make it through. They are wonderfully constructed sequences in their ability to crank up the tension and the reality of the situation.
As Girls of the Sun center around Bahar and Mathilde the performances of the actresses that portray them was always going to be key. Golshifteh Farahani and Emmanuelle Bercot give superbly grounded performances, filled to the brim with emotion while never stooping to over dramatizing their performances.
Although its horrifically sobering, Girls of the Sun is a film that demands to be seen and one that you will be dwelling on long into your week.