6.8/10
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4 user 21 critic

Letters from Baghdad (2016)

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2:13 | Trailer
Gertrude Bell, the most powerful woman in the British Empire in her day, shaped the destiny of Iraq after WWI in ways that still reverberate today.
2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tilda Swinton ... Gertrude Bell (voice)
Michael Higgs ... General Sir Gilbert Clayton
Eric Loscheider ... T.E. Lawrence
Rachael Stirling ... Vita Sackville-West
Adam Astill ... Sgt. Frank Stafford
Helen Ryan ... Lady Florence Bell
Joanna David ... Janet Courtney
Elizabeth Rider ... Lady Elsa Richmond
Jürgen Kalwa Jürgen Kalwa ... Dr. Friedrich Rosen
Tom Chadbon ... Sir Valentine 'Domnul' Chirol
Simon Chandler ... David Hogarth
Lucy Robinson ... Lady Molly Trevelyan
Andrew Havill ... Sir Percy Cox
Anthony Edridge Anthony Edridge ... Sir Arnold 'A.T.' Wilson
Nicholas Woodeson ... General Sir George MacMunn
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Storyline

Gertrude Lowthian Bell, sometimes called the "female" Lawrence of Arabia was a British adventurer, archaeologist and political powerhouse, who helped shape the modern Middle East after World War I. Voiced and executive produced by Tilda Swinton, the film chronicles Bell's journey into the uncharted Arabian desert and all-male halls of colonial power with never-seen-before archival footage of the region shot a century ago. The film takes us into a past that is eerily current.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Gertrude Bell was as controversial as the history she made.

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Facebook | Official site | See more »

Country:

UK | USA | France

Language:

English | Arabic

Release Date:

12 November 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Gertrude Bell, rebell och diplomat See more »

Filming Locations:

UK See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$950,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$19,725, 2 June 2017, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$359,735, 22 October 2017
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby (Dolby 5.1)

Color:

Black and White (archival footage)| Black and White (Super 16mm)

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1 / (high definition)
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User Reviews

 
Lonely Planet
26 August 2017 | by clarkj-565-161336See all my reviews

Long before there were guide books and people trekked through the Middle East, Gertrude Bell travelled on a camel through desert areas only inhabited by roving bandit chieftains. She kept meticulous notes of the various tribes, their relationships, and even carried an expensive transit/theodolite. She developed a very strong attachment to the area and its peoples. This was an age of great exploration, witness Col. Fawcett exploring the Amazon. What all these explorers developed was an intense and passionate interest in the places they visited. They learned the languages and studied the habits of the people.

The directors tell the story of Gertrude Bell's time in Mesopotamia or modern day Iraq through her many letters. They are absolutely fascinating in that not only is her interior life and feelings revealed, but a good deal of information about the political and social conditions in the empire at that time. I believe the directors were smart to stick to the letters and make them the focus of the story. The documentary is brilliant in what it doesn't say. The viewer can make up their own minds, the information is pretty overwhelming. What I found most fascinating were the monuments and historical objects that were uncovered. They indicate far earlier and complex civilizations that had a grasp of our place in nature and in the cosmos. Bell went to great lengths to establish a museum to preserve these artifacts to man's origin. Curiously both T. E. Lawrence and Gertrude Bell both had rather violent ends. One by an untimely motorcycle accident and the other by an overdose.


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