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Starting on November 4, the SIFF Film Center will show a movie I absolutely fell in love with at the 2022 North Bend Film Festival. Sirens is a poignant and pulsing documentary about the Middle East’s “first and only” all-woman thrash metal band, Slave to Sirens. Though Moroccan American director Rita Baghdadi puts most of her focus on guitarists Lilas and Shery, two of the Beirut-based band’s five members, the film manages a grand scope.
As these young women try to grow up and make killer music—there’s a fantastic scene at the 2019 Glastonbury Festival—their struggles echo through Lebanon’s continued cultural and political upheaval. How long can they even be a band if the country shifts further and further into conservatism? And how much of the outside world will affect their own mental state simply trying to hold onto their personal relationships?
Distributed by Oscilloscope Laboratories (cofounded by the late Beastie Boy himself Adam Yauch) and executive produced by the likes of Natasha Lyonne and Maya Rudolph, Sirens pins its 79-minute running time on the freedom of expression and not living in fear.