Directed by RIta Baghdadi
Sundance Film Festival 2022
True/False Film Festival 2022
Sun Valley Film Festival 2022
BFI Flare London LGBTQIA+ Film Festival 2022
Hotdocs 2022 Film Festival
Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival 2022
Kathryn Everett, Natasha Lyonne, Brynn Mooser, Danielle Renfrew, Maya Rudolph
Set amid the ongoing revolution in Lebanon, Emmy-winner Rita Baghdadi’s SIRENS shines a spotlight on the Middle East’s first all-female metal band, Slave to Sirens. It follows its co-founders and lead guitarists Shery Bechara and Lilas Mayassi as they defy prejudice, gender norms, and social stigma while navigating their own complex relationship. As it turns out, they are more than just performing partners. At a time when more and more Arab women embrace career over marriage, they strive not only for musical success, but also for empowerment and sexual freedom—dreams that sometimes feel hopeless in a country on the brink of political and economic collapse. Metal culture, however, is all about liberation, and our titular quintet fiercely refuses to live in fear.
This intimate documentary, which had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, plays out like a carefully crafted, multi-layered work of fiction, with protagonists so charming and authentic they seem to have forgotten about the camera pointed at them. Supported by a crew full of inspired women that includes, most notably, executive producers Natasha Lyonne (RUSSIAN DOLL) and Maya Rudolph (SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE), Baghdadi also serves as SIRENS’ cinematographer and producer. Driven by a lasting desire to challenge Western preconceptions of what it’s like to be a young adult in the MENA region, she beautifully captures the bandmates’ emotional journeys as well as their deep connection to death metal and its rebellious allure. – Alyssia Duval-Nguon
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