directed by Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami
Rapping defiantly about her experiences in a sexist and repressive environment, Sonita is an activist for the ages, her spirit, attitude and resolve captured in this powerful documentary...
Name: Ross McDonnell / @rosswmcdonnell
Currently: I work in digital marketing (previously in distribution, currently in international sales), write freelance on film and am starting out in film festival programming.
Last film I saw: Millennium Mambo (Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2001)
I recommend Sonita because: I saw Sonita after it played Human Rights Watch Film Festival and ahead of Sheffield Doc/Fest, and I was immediately impressed. Not just a stirring, political portrait of an especially charismatic, precocious young woman, Sonita also offers something self-reflexive. In its central crux—the aesthetic and ethical dilemma (and overall implication) of a documentarian intervening in the circumstances of their subject— the film invites its audience to rethink what they know of documentary.
You should see Sonita because: it announces and emphasises the power of expression and of language. Men don't know what women do and discuss when they're not there, and Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami’s documentary is a testament to the kind of access (and intimacy) afforded only to a female filmmaker.
If you like Sonita, you should watch: Tunisian writer-director Leyla Bouzid’s À peine j'ouvre les yeux (As I Open My Eyes)
Sonita screens in cinemas around the UK from 21 October, find your nearest screening here.