Review – Sonita (Documentary – 2016)

Presented with English Subtitles.

This real-life documentary from director Rokhsareh Ghaemmaghami follows the every-day life of Afghan refugee Sonita Alizadeh; now living in Iran.


She faces the oppressive traditions of her culture that have been imposed on her by her family. She dreams of a different life and a career as a rap singer; quite opposed to what is expected of her.

There is no set story-line here and the film allows Sonita to tell her own story. It is refreshing to not have the footage broken up with talking-heads however these long, drawn-out sections can at times lose the pace. Where there are interview style sections these are very in-formal and Sonita responds in typical stand-offish teenager style.

Shot mostly unobtrusively and in almost fully ‘fly-on-the-wall’ style; the film allows the subject to speak for herself and lets us into her world. The story is made perhaps even more powerful and culturally significant not only because it features a female at the centre but also it was shot by a female director.

An insightful look at the real-life of a refugee struggling against the traditions of her culture – 3/5

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