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Letters from Baghdad

Based on verbatim extracts from intimate letters, private diaries and secret communiques, some of which are stored in the Iraq National Library and Archive, Sabine Krayenbuhl and Zeva Oelbaum's fascinating documentary shines a spotlight on British spy, explorer and political trailblazer Gertrude Bell, who has been largely written out of history but was a key player in the reshaping of the Middle East in the aftermath of the First World War. Narrator Tilda Swinton gives voice to Bell in never-seen-before footage of the region as the film details her travels in the uncharted Arabian desert and subsequent recruitment by British military intelligence to draw the borders of Iraq.