The women inmates of Lebanon’s Baabda Prison mine the depths of personal experience and confront patriarchy as they prepare and present the first theatre performance staged inside an Arab women’s prison.
Filmed during and after the ten-month drama therapy/theatre project set up in 2012 in Baabda prison by Lebanese drama therapist and film director Zeina Daccache, this gripping and tragicomic documentary features the women inmates who, through their unprecedented theatre initiative entitled “Scheherazade in Baabda”, challenge societies that oppress women.
In the course of their artistic journey, these “murderers of husbands, adulterers and drug felons” reveal stories of domestic violence, traumatic childhood, failed marriage, forlorn romance and deprivation of motherhood that become the narratives of this self-revelatory film, with flamenco dance to boot.
The film journeys into the quotidian of prison life, follows the women storytellers as they rehearse for the show, and intermingles scenes from the live performance with testimonials and backstage antics.
The women of Baabda Prison speak for all female inmates behind bars in Lebanon just as they convey the plight of all women imprisoned by rigid and oppressive mentalities.
The Scheherazades of Baabda dare not only to reflect on their own wrongdoings and crimes but also to stand up before numerous audiences and bare their personal stories to heal their – and their community’s – wounds and express their sincere desire to change their lives.
In so doing, the women inmates hold up a mirror to Lebanese society, implicating us all in oppression that often leads to crime.Recording:
PAL, All ZonesLanguage:
2013Also by Zeina Daccache:
DVD: 12 Angry Lebanese The Documentary