‘Letters from Baghdad’ shares true story of Gertrude Bell’s influence on the Middle East

Academy Award winning actress Tilda Swinton narrates “Letters from Baghdad,” the true story of Gertrude Bell, sometimes referred to as the female Lawrence of Arabia.

Often considered the most powerful woman in the British Empire, Bell was an explorer, spy, archaeologist and diplomat who helped shape the Middle East after World War I. She then served as an adviser to Winston Churchill and became an outspoken critic of colonial policies in Iraq. The film uses stunning never-seen-before footage of the region to help immerse you in Bell’s world. The story is told entirely in the words of Bell and her contemporaries, excerpted from letters, private diaries and official documents.

The film takes us into a past that is eerily current as it chronicles Bell’s extraordinary journey into both the uncharted Arabian desert and the inner sanctum of British Colonial power.

The biggest question, however, remains: Why has Bell been written out of the history she helped make?

Tune in Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 8 p.m. on Arizona PBS. Watch online now.

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