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Hot Docs 2016 Review: Sonita

On paper, 18 year-old Sonita seems like the epitome of a teenage girl. She has a poster of Justin Bieber adorning her bedroom wall, she gabs with her female schoolmates about boys and she dreams of a successful future. To teenage girls living in Tehran, this is normalcy. Look closer though and you see that those bedroom walls are cracked and the room is claustrophobic at best, those boys they’re giggling about are thirty to eighty year-old men looking to pay thousands of dollars for a young bride, and a successful future is one where there’s no Taliban.

For Sonita Alizadeh, the Afghan rapper phenom living undocumented in Iran, “the best job…is to get married”, yet she optimistically and resolutely fights for her artistic and personal freedom in the searing doc Sonita. The young lady is mesmerizing and inspirational to watch as director Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami documents (and gets personally involved in) her emblematic journey away from familial and societal oppression.

Sonita is a must see documentary!

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Leora Heilbronn

Leora Heilbronn is a Toronto based film aficionado who has a weakness for musicals and violent action flicks. She can often be spotted reading a wide range of literature or listening to show tunes.