2016 Sundance Film Review: “Sonita”

Artist Sonita Alizadeh
Artist Sonita Alizadeh

 By: Alystar McKenneh-O’Neill

“Sonita” is the most important documentary of the 21st century. It is extremely well thought out, well shot, and enormous respect goes to Director Rokhsareh Ghaem Magham, who was forced to combine the subject of selling women and forced marriage, into her original subject matter of a woman rapper in Iran, to make an even more intriguing and important documentary than I think she intended.

“Sonita” takes viewers on an emotional journey as we watch the birth and development of a true artist. Sonita Alizadeh happens to be an undocumented female immigrant from Afghanistan living in Iran. Her attempt to become a female rapper is illegal, and historically impossible! And yet she follows her dreams no matter what.

 When her mother arrives to take her back to Afghanistan to be sold into marriage, the audience suddenly becomes aware of how impossible her dreams are. And yet…she believes her talent will carry her to the pages of the dream-journal scrapbook she carries.

Sonita Alizadeh’s rapping rises to another level when confronted by her mother’s refusal to allow Sonita to escape the forced marriage, and there seems to be no help for her. Until the filmmaker steps in and becomes part of the story, changing Sonita Alizadeh’s life forever.

Director Rokhsareh Ghaem Magham began the documentary prior to Sonita’s mother’s arrival to take her back to Afghanistan. And it very well could have ended there. Never being seen, Sonita Alizadeh would have been sold to the highest bidder just like millions of young girls worldwide. So “Sonita” is a must see! Just as Sonita Alizadeh’s music speaks to the next generation of young people, opening their eyes to the slavery of women worldwide, Sonita the documentary implores the world to take action to stop it! What Malala is to the girls of Pakistan, Sonita will be to the girls of Afghanistan.

Debuted at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.

Sonita 91 mins

Director: Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami,


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