The history of systematic oppression of women in Sudan dates back to the 16th century. Heroic Bodies presents many examples of the ways in which the female body was regarded and treated as property, from women forced to live as concubines or slaves, to genital mutilation and facial disfigurement. Women’s rights advocates—most of them women, but also a few men—tell stories of horrific traditions and oppression, as well as brave resistance and change.
The interviews yield shocking facts, remarkable anecdotes and demonstrations of great courage, illustrated with unique archive material. Photos and video present a picture of Sudan that has rarely been seen, such as footage of weddings where, dictated by tradition, the bride has to dance for the guests and her husband for days. The documentary also highlights the positive developments in present-day Sudan, which have brought greater equality and freedom for women, and for all genders.