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FULL COVER GIRL

Aspiring Iraqi women politicians are profiled during several years. They literally risk their lives, shaping the future of their country. And they differ dramatically in their views on democracy, nation building and women’s rights.

 

Award-winning film-maker Folke Rydén’s documentary looks at the establishment of the new Iraqi parliament after the 2003 invasion and the clash between two very different women whose views could not be further apart. The film asks disturbing questions about the very nature of democracy and human rights.

Determined to protect women’s rights in the new Iraq, American administrators pushed for a mandate that guaranteed women one third of the seats in parliament. What they had not foreseen was the election of members such as Jenan al-Ubaedy of the United Iraqi Alliance. A devout Shia Muslim, fully covered in black, al- Ubaedy’s stated objective was to implement Sharia law, with all its implications for women’s rights, including polygamy and wife beatings. A majority of the 87 women who won seats in parliament shared her views, but they were by no means unopposed. Abir al-Sahlani (pictured left) spent years in exile before returning to Iraq to set up a secular political party. A prominent human rights campaigner, al-Sahlani hates the veil and everything it represents. Her campaign in Iraq, however, proved unsuccessful. Since the making of this film she has returned to Sweden, where she now sits as an MP. Filmed over four years, the programme confronts some fundamental issues. If democracy can be used to protect some rights, such as free speech, can it also be used to restrict other rights for certain groups? Should a democracy curbing some rights for women be encouraged? Jenan’s answer is a definite yes.

Filming took place in Baghdad, Amman, Washington D.C. and Sweden.

 

Production Team

Director/Producer: Folke Rydén
Co-production partners: SVT, WGBH International

 

Awards

2009 Finalist Award – The New York Festivals
2009 Official Finalist – Maple Leaf Award, Canada International Film Festival
2009 Official Nomination – Banff World Television Awards
2008 Official Selection – Peace on Earth Film Festival
2008 Official Selection – Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival

 

Reviews

”Excellent”

”Folke Rydén at his best”

”A highly vivid report”

“Brilliantly, Folke Rydén lets us viewers draw our own conclusions”

“Praise to Folke Rydén who lets the women and the material speak for itself”

“Excellent sound, picture quality and editing. The film flows smoothly and logically”

 

Reviews Swedish

”Pedagogiskt och suggestivt bygger han berättelsen om utvecklingen i Irak ur ett kvinnligt perspektiv. Det genialiska är att Folke Rydén låter oss tittare själva dra våra slutsatser av det han berättar helt utan snusförnuftiga och övertydlig speakertext. Suveränt!”
– Helsingborgs Dagblad

”Om SVT har George W Bushs adress tycker jag att de ska sända över en dvd med Folke Rydéns dokumentär ”Irak under slöjan”. En eloge till Folke Rydén som denna gång låter kvinnorna och materialet berätta själv. En bra dokumentärfilmare ska stå bakom och inte framför kameran. Filmen är också befriande fri från pekpinnar.”
– City, Malmö Lund

”I ”Irak under slöjan” är Folke Rydén i toppform. Folke Rydén hittade i sin starka dokumentärfilm faktiskt en ny vinkel, när han koncentrerade sig på kvinnornas öden.

”Irak under slöjan” den dokumentär han jobbet med i åratal, gav en grundlig och skrämmande bild av hur den sköra demokrati som finns i Irak efter Husseins fall, sannerligen inte är till gagn för kvinnorna, snarare tvärtom. Rydén skildrade skickligt detta genom ett antal kvinnors öden och berättelser. En film man blev lite klokare av, man fick i alla fall lite förståelse för det vansinniga våldet i Irak.”
– Aftonbladet

”[Folke Rydén har] lyckats snickra till ett högst levande reportage om den kanske mest bortglömda aspekten av Irakockupationen: att Irak visserligen slapp Saddam Hussein, men att Irak samtidigt har förvandlats till ett fängelse för kvinnor.”
– Dagens Nyheter

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Production Details

Title: Full Cover Girl
Title (SE): Irak under slöjan
Duration: 52 and 58 min.
Format: HDV
Year: 2008

International Distribution: PBS International
Institutional Distribution (SE): Kunskap & Upplevelse

Filming in Baghdad

Folke Rydén talks about filming in Baghdad:

“There are so many interesting people trying to live their lives out there in the world, many in unbearable situations, and those stories have to be told more. That’s my mission…”

Read here at RealScreen

Read more in Swedish