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Letters from Baghdad 2016 123movies

Letters from Baghdad 2016 123movies

She was as controversial as the history she made.Oct. 06, 201695 Min.
Your rating: 0
9 1 vote


Watch: Letters from Baghdad 2016 123movies, Full Movie Online – 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: 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.
Smart Tags: #reenactment #british #iraq #archive_footage #middle_east #f_rated #letter #film_history #world_war_one #historical #archaeology #independent_film

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6.9/10 Votes: 443
84% | RottenTomatoes
71/100 | MetaCritic
N/A Votes: 9 Popularity: 2.741 | TMDB


Don’t be confused by the title!
When I saw the DVD for “Letter from Baghdad” on Netflix, I initially dismissed it, as I had little interest in hearing about letters from soldiers during the recent war. However, despite the title, the show from “American Experience” is NOT about the recent Iraq War but but about a most unusual woman, Gertrude Bell, and her love of the Middle East (not just Iraq)…in the early 20th century! So, be careful…this film might not be what you’re expecting.

The show is about the life of Gertrude Bell, a most unusual woman who was apart from her time. While most women of her class dreamed of a successful marriage and family, Gertrude went to Oxford and excelled there. And, after graduation, moved to the Middle East and lived there most of the rest of her life. Why this is important is that during WWI, the British knew very little about these people…and Gertrude already had befriended many of the desert chieftans and their people. Her knowledge and respect for them was instrumental during the war…and following it, at least for a time it was respected.

This is an interesting show and was made available because of the saved correspondences from Gertrude. And, like you’d expect with a PBS documentary, it’s extremely well made with some top talent to sub for the voices of these long deceased people. My only quibble is that the show seemed to fall flat when it came to actually making anything of Bell’s life and work…what was the lasting impact, what were the mistakes and what were the benefits of her life? Well, that is something the film really didn’t do well. Interesting…but a bit short in this regard.

Review By: planktonrules
Western intervention in the Middle East, the roots of constant conflict there, as shown through the life of a brilliant British aristocrat who helped form modern Iraq.
Letters from Baghdad, directed by Sabine Krayenbühl and Zeva Oelbaum, handles an enormous amount of information in a calm, mostly archival portrayal of lands and times that appear exotic to Western viewers—the Middle East—today’s Iran, Syria, Turkey, and Iraq. The period is approximately the turn of the twentieth century to post–World War I, and the story’s lovely voice-over narrative by Tilda Swinton reading Gertrude Bell’s letters home to her family in England is key to the lulling, fascinating atmosphere that Eastern music amplifies along with unending views of desert landscapes, plodding camels, teeming markets, and tribal peoples clothed in voluminous fabric and unusual hats or headdresses. Sun-drenched, boxy dwellings, palaces and mosques decorated with Islamic patterns, and abundant snapshots and scratchy film footage of the region’s magnificent ruins add to the tingling ambiance. But what is it all about? Can the audience connect the dots and understand what’s going on beyond Gertrude Bell’s biography? For Americans, it might take more than watching the film to understand the content, for reams of history occur in the milliseconds of frames—history poignantly related to the Middle East’s warring state of today. On its intellectual level, the movie’s about the meddling of foreign, imperialistic, and supremacist powers in Eastern cultures.

On a simpler level, this meticulously created movie portrays an educated and brilliant British aristocrat, Gertrude Bell (1868–1926), whose independence, passionate pursuit of Arab culture, and ceaseless effort to establish an independent Arab state out of Mesopotamia broke through the glass ceiling for women of her times. Her social position and Oxford education helped her, but her love for the area and her ability to integrate with its tribes, was the main reason for her success at the top level of Britain’s foreign policy makers in forming modern Iraq. She worked with Churchill, T. E. Lawrence “of Arabia,” Percy Cox, and numerous high commissioners during both wartime and postwar negotiations—the latter to install King Feisal as Iraq’s first head. In the war period, Britain avowed it would serve only in the capacity of adviser to the future government, in return for help overthrowing the Ottoman rule. Snippets from Bell’s eloquent letters to her father over the course of more than twenty years, outline these essential experiences of her life, including her love for a married military man who was killed at the Battle of Gallipoli.

One can walk away with Bell’s bio as the movie’s take-away, and surely it is worthy, but deep, disturbing history is embedded in the film’s main World War I segment, the peak of Bell’s life and work. But how many American viewers know the Ottoman Empire’s history in the Middle East or the “Sykes-Picot” pact that Russia, Britain, and France secretly negotiated to divvy up their respective territories of influence within the future Arab state (not unlike Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt carving up Eastern Europe at Yalta after the next World War). The movie employs periodic “talking heads”—people who knew Bell and share their impressions. Gilbert Clayton, Bell’s colleague with the same liberal, “self-determination” views, tells us: “When the war broke out, the intelligence department realized that the Arabs were going to have a considerable influence on its outcome in the Eastern theater. Britain pledged to recognize and support an Arab state if the Arabs assisted Great Britain in the war.”

But instead we witness Britain’s egregious betrayal of the Arabs—instead of assisting them after the war, Britain occupies them. We are shown an image of Britain’s official proclamation to the Arabs stating: Our armies do not come into your cities and lands as conquerors, but as liberators.

As such promises soon became obvious lies, the true believers in a sovereign Arab state, such as Bell and T. E. Lawrence, felt ashamed but had to remain loyal to their government. Although Letters from Baghdad comes across as an impartial conveyance of history and biography, it delivers the truth: We are still in the aftermath of all that World War I Middle East meddling by foreign powers. The region is still fighting for independence and self-determination. Even back then, oil was a motive for foreign intervention in the guise of help. The movie includes clips of Standard Oil aiding the Arab rebellion against the Brits, after it was clear Britain intended to control Iraq. The Americans, seeing how this rule would compromise their own interests, took the side of the rebelling Arabs. Bell wrote in a letter: “We don’t know what we want to do in this country. We rushed into this business with our usual disregard for a comprehensive political scheme. Can you persuade people to take your side when you’re not sure you’ll be there to take theirs?” Time and again the movie reminds us that governments never learn from history.

The hawkish British commissioner in charge of the new country didn’t help the situation. Arab nationalist resistance rose with calls of “We want independence! Let the British leave our country!” One village refused to pay its taxes and received a warning that if it didn’t pay by such and such a date, it would be bombed. It was bombed. Other villages then joined the protest until they were “terrorized into submission.” An Arab journalist at the time tells us: “These were events to make humanity weep.”

As always in history, the informed, rational, and humane voices like Bell’s, Cox’s, Lawrence’s, and Clayton’s were ignored. Greed, power, and Western—even empire—supremacy reigned. Images of foreign diplomats in casual white on the green lawns of the properties they’ve requisitioned for their comfort make a strong statement. And Bell was not separate from this cohort; she dressed in finery that symbolized her position in the “empire.”

We leave the theater knowing that the Iraqi events of a century ago that “make humanity weep” continue today throughout the Middle East. With grace, compassion, and democratic values, Letters from Baghdad makes this point.

Review By: gailspilsbury

Other Information:

Original Title Letters from Baghdad
Release Date 2016-10-06
Release Year 2016

Original Language en
Runtime 1 hr 35 min (95 min)
Budget 0
Revenue 0
Status Released
Rated TV-PG
Genre Documentary, Biography, History
Director Sabine Krayenbühl, Zeva Oelbaum
Writer N/A
Actors Tilda Swinton, Michael Higgs, Eric Loscheider
Country United Kingdom, United States, France
Awards 2 wins & 2 nominations
Production Company N/A
Website N/A

Technical Information:

Sound Mix Dolby (Dolby 5.1)
Aspect Ratio 1.78 : 1 / (high definition) (high definition)
Camera N/A
Laboratory N/A
Film Length N/A
Negative Format N/A
Cinematographic Process N/A
Printed Film Format N/A

Letters from Baghdad 2016 123movies
Original title Letters from Baghdad
TMDb Rating 6.778 9 votes

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