Milwaukee Film Festival 2016: Sonita
By Devvon Eubanks
Everyone has dreams. We dream of becoming something greater than what we are. We dream of being able to live a wonderful life full of love and joy. And we dream of aiding our communities and being in a position to speak out against the injustices of the world and right the wrongs of humanity. However, for Sonita Alizadeh, these dreams are her daily reality as an aspiring Afghan rapper and refugee in Iran. Directed by Rokhsareh Ghaemmaghami, “Sonita” shows the personal journey of a 16-year-old who seeks to be different from what society labels her as, and who speaks out against the sexist moral standards she is placed under in her culture. Not only is Sonita a strong and bold leader who seeks to inspire those around her with her lyrics and improvisation, but she is also a warrior of social justice, even going so far as to rebel against her own mother and Afghan social traditions. But what is interesting about this documentary involves the filmmaker’s intervention into Sonita’s life. Touched by this young activist and her aspirations, Ghaemmaghami personally aids Sonita in her quest, helping her to create her first YouTube music video, “Brides for Sale,” and getting her connected in a way that changes Sonita’s life forever. This biography goes beyond the camera and the silver screen and delves into the heart of a person and the creation of a family, connecting filmmaker and subject in a way that only can be told as Ghaemmaghami shows. Poignant, visceral, and heart-wrenching, “Sonita” displays a true hero of society, carrying her dream wherever her microphone will take her.