a surprising new film

This is an original topic about a singular and little-known Englishwoman. The woman’s name is Gertrude Bell.


Gertrude 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.

Letters from Baghdad tells the extraordinary and dramatic story of Gertrude Bell. She shaped the modern Middle East after World War I in ways that still reverberate today. Why has she been written out of history?

Mixing archive video footage and voice-overs from Tilda Swinton and a host of other character actors, the documentary film brings to life her letters from an important time during Iraq’s formative years.


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