Competition Documentary Feature
Directed by: Rita Baghdadi
USA/Lebanon, 2022, 78m
In English and Arabic with English subtitles
In every band’s lifetime there comes a critical moment when the big question is “can we keep this going?” Slave to Sirens is at that moment. Based in Beirut, Lebanon, the Middle East’s first all-female thrash metal band must deal with civil unrest, a failing electrical grid, economic instability, and—the most dangerous menace of all—the crumbling relationship between their guitarists, Lilas and Shery. Defying family expectations of early marriages and gender norms, the pair discovered heavy metal, formed the Sirens, and explored a romance before backing away. Now they wrestle with an uncomfortable detente, united mostly by gigantic riffs and the age-old hope that music will be a road to somewhere else. Can they keep this going? Director Rita Baghdadi, who shot the footage herself for several years, captures something much deeper than a behind-the-music band doc. This is a coming-of-age story for people who understand they might not be alive tomorrow. Just as Beirut itself must find a way to survive amidst endless street protests and explosions, Lilas and Shery must wrestle with friendship, sexuality, and destructive tendencies if they’re to succeed in their pursuit of becoming rock stars together.
Little known fact: the completion of Jim Jarmusch’s film Stranger than Paradise depended on producer Sara Driver smuggling one of the world’s weirdest and most controversial films across the Atlantic Ocean. A legend is finally revealed in this new creation from multi-FFF alumni the Kloster Bros. (“Shots in the Dark with David Godlis,” FFF 2021).