Hot Docs Ban This Series: Sonita

Screening as part of Hot Docs Ban This Series

An Afghan refugee dreams of rap career in Sonita. Sonita Alidazeh is an 18 year Afghan living in Iran, who dreams of entering into a music career. However, it is indecent for women to sing in her culture and Sontia’s family have other plans for her; that being returning her to Afghanistan and selling her into an arranged marriage. With time against her, Sonita uses her own personal struggles to influence her rap songs.

Sonita Alidazeh lives in a culture where it is against the law for women to sing and that the only career expected for her is to be married off and care for her husband, However, Sonita dreams of being a rapper and uses her own life as inspiration for her rhymes. Sonita struggles to prove that her musical ambitions are not a waste of time, before her family sells her off for a $9000 dowry.

Sonita is a documentary about a young woman literally risking it all to achieve her musical dreams. There is a point in the film when director Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami decides to become more than just a passive observer, as she decides to help Sonita with her musical ambitions. A particularly powerful moment in the film comes when Sonita records a song about her family’s desire to sell her into marriage and shoots a music video in a bridal dress with a barcode on her forehead. Altogether, Sontia is a quite inspirational film about this aspiring rapper fighting against her oppressed culture to achieve her dreams.



Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).