This film is dedicated to all those women who fight, to those who bear witness, to the ones forgotten by history, and those who shape it. —Director Eva Husson
A movie that tells it how it is
By Roger Childs
This is a film that is not for the faint-hearted. It is about one of the nastiest conflicts in the 21st century and centres on a group of Kurdish women who are trying to liberate their village from jihadists. Their leader, Bahar, is a former lawyer turned freedom fighter who lost her husband in fighting in Libya, and is hoping to find her son alive in the village school.
No sympathy for men
All the women in her small unit have suffered horrific and repeated sexual abuse, and watched men being executed — shot in the back – against walls. Not surprisingly the male of the species doesn’t get a great press in this movie. Bahar’s fighters have no compunction about killing jihadists who know that to be shot by a woman means no safe journey to paradise. Bahar’s boss looks a little like a middle-aged Stalin and provided scant support for the determined and courageous Kurdish women.
There is just one male hero and that is a renegade ISIS guard who helps the women escape.
For the record
A key character in the film is French journalist Mathilde who has also recently lost her husband in Libya. She follows the women fighters on their journey to take back the village making notes, taking photos and putting herself in considerable danger.
She has reported on many battle fronts and lost the sight of one eye, but is determined to survive this conflict and tell the story to the world. Through the tunnels and corridors where there are ambushes, fierce fighting and casualties, Mathilde records the women’s campaign to enter their village and liberate the school children.
A powerful story
Director Eva Husson has made a no frills movie which focuses on the grim reality of war. It tells a story which few will know about – the crucial role of women in the Kurds’ fight against ISIS. It doesn’t stint from showing the grim realities of executions, sexual violence and vicious gun battles. The acting is utterly convincing and the cinematography is remarkable given the very confined spaces where much of the action occurs.
Girls of the Sun is an important film for what it reveals about the determination of women, who has suffered humiliation, degradation and family tragedy, to make a difference and fight for what they believe in, against the odds.
Presently screening at the Shoreline.