Runtime: 78 minutes
Director: Rita Baghdadi
By Morgan Roberts
“Sirens”(2022) is a documentary film which gives audiences an intimate look into lives of the women of the band Slave to Sirens. Slave to Sirens is a metal band from Beirut, Lebanon. The two central individuals of focus are guitarists Lilas and Shery. Lilas and Shery are creative partners, writing many songs together. As the film unfolds, we see the complexity to their relationship.
“Sirens” has a fly-on-the-wall approach, allowing its audience to observe the lives of these women. The film addresses stereotypes and previously held ideas about Arab and Middle Eastern women. Lilas in particular is open with her life as she socializes – including drinking alcohol – and explores her sexuality. We see Lilas and Shery experience the same ups and downs as any young woman whether they are in Boston, Berlin, or Beirut and their struggles to find their identities and their voices. The film highlights that regardless of this, patriarchal society will find ways to oppress women. Through their music, we see the women express themselves.
The film explores sexuality in a very delicate and respectful manner. There are still places where sexuality is a fine balance. Not everyone wants to or can share that piece of their lives boldly. What Lilas and Shery do is give us, the audience, the opportunity to explore this in a thoughtful and sensitive manner.
Moreover, the film shows the intersectional struggles of women in music. In Lebanon, their genre of music is shunned and looked down upon. They are not understood and very much cast aside. In the film, we follow Slave to Sirens as they head to Glastonbury, the famed UK music festival. Yet, the event does not go as planned; they had high hopes this would be a turning point, however, they find themselves back home, grappling with what to do next.
“Sirens” is a humanizing and intimate look at this extraordinary band comprised of these daring, bold, and creative women. The film breaks down stereotypical images of Arab women, of metal musicians, and women in rock. It highlights their tenacious spirit and perseverance. And if you were not a fan of metal before the film started, you will certainly be a Slave to Sirens fan by the end.