“Women, life, liberty!” So goes the rallying cry of the battalion of female fighters that Eva Husson follows in her second feature, “Girls of the Sun.” Loosely based on the real-life stories of Kurdish women who were taken hostage by Islamic State fighters in Syria and Iraq who then decide to escape, fight back, and target the ISIS extremists who had destroyed their homes and lives, Husson’s film debuted in competition at last year’s Cannes Film Festival.
It’s a story that seems unfortunately destined to be pegged as “timely,” but it’s also a rallying cry of hope in an increasingly fraught world and evidence of Husson’s growing skills as a filmmaker.
In his Cannes review of the film, IndieWire’s Eric Kohn wrote: “Husson’s second feature veers from taut showdowns of gun-wielding women reclaiming their lives to the weaker sentimental plot that surrounds them. But while it’s less than the sum of its parts, those parts know how to deliver. … This material marks a dramatic shift for Husson, whose previous feature ‘Bang Gang (A Modern Love Story)’ follows horny teens who host sex parties. However, ‘Bang Gang’ showed the director’s capacity for juggling a large ensemble while maintaining an intimate focus on a few characters’ journeys, and ‘Girls of the Sun’ follows a similar trajectory.”
The film stars Emmanuelle Bercot and Golshifteh Farahani and, per its official synopsis, follows Farahani as the “commander of the ‘Girls of the Sun’ battalion, [as she] is preparing to liberate her hometown from the hands of extremists, hoping to find her son who is held hostage. A French journalist, Mathilde (Bercot), comes to cover the attack and bear witness to the story of these exceptional warriors. Since their lives have been turned upside down, they have all been fighting for the same cause: Women, Life, Liberty.”
“This movie started with sorority,” Husson told IndieWire. “The team was mainly composed of women and we all believed in the necessity of telling the story of the courage of these Yazidi and Kurdish women fighters so that their story travels the world, so that their memory and experience don’t get swallowed by the news cycles, so that other women around the world feel inspired to channel their strength within. We are privileged to share this tale of hope, strength, and survival.”
Check out IndieWire’s exclusive first trailer for “Girls of the Sun” below. Cohen Media Group will release the film on April 12.