Sundance Review: Sirens

Shery and Lilas

While the last decade has seen a lot of progress within the music industry, it’s still a male-dominated area and one where women regularly find themselves treated as second-class ‘citizens’. That’s on top of the abuse, prejudice and harassment they routinely suffer. Especially if they actually have the temerity to play a musical instrument. Although the situation is still pretty bad in the US and UK, it’s a whole different world in less liberal societies.

Slave to Sirens are an all-woman thrash metal band from Lebanon. There is no other group like them in the Middle-East. Co-Founded by best friends and guitarists Lilas and Shery, they are wrestling with charting a path to success in a society which is still relatively traditional and in the middle of a financial and political crisis. Sirens, the new documentary from Rita Baghdadi, follows the quintet as they experience a number of ups and downs.

Sirens isn’t a music doc in the traditional sense. Whilst the band and their journey play an important part, the focus is on Lilas and Shery. The stresses and strains of their relationship whilst their country seemingly burns down around them. This is the strength of Rita Baghdadi’s documentary. It’s really a film about friendships and how they endure or suffer under internal and external stress. The music isn’t half bad either.

Sirens screens at Sundance Film Festival.

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