Kill Your Darlings: Letters from Baghdad

With a heavy heart, filmmakers delete scenes they love - because they don't fit the story or don't really add anything for instance. Watch a deleted scene from Letters from Baghdad.

Directors Sabine Krayenbühl and Zeva Oelbaum: 'This scene – we call it "Swivel Hips" – was one of the first scenes we edited and made us laugh every time we watched it. It was part of an extended opening of the film which set up Gertrude Bell in Iraq. It was important to us to immediately set her up as an unusual person, not just to the audience, but also to her contemporaries and to establish the male, testosterone-driven environment in which she found herself when she first arrived in Mesopotamia during the War. 

We loved this clip, because the soldier's little "dance" is so completely unexpected and is so connected to the dialogue. Unfortunately, when we tested the film on an uninitiated audience, they were very confused about time and place and the opening also felt like a very long set up. Even though this scene was one of our favorite little gems, we sadly had to lose it.'

Letters from Baghdad

  • Sabine Krayenbühl, Zeva Oelbaum
  • 2016
  • 95 min

Voiced by Tilda Swinton, Letters From Baghdad, tells the extraordinary story of Gertrude Bell, the "female Lawrence of Arabia,” who shaped the modern Middle East in ways that reverberate today.

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