Girls of the Sun (2018) Movie Script

Based on true events in Iraqi Kurdistan.
On Aug. 3, 2014, ISIS invaded Mt. Sinjar. Their goal: the Yazidi genocide.
In 24 hours, 500,000 people fled. The rest were killed or captured.
Resistance organized around the Yazidis, the Kurdish guerrillas and official army.
The names of people, places and factions, as well as dates have been changed.
November 11.
I've been stuck at the Turkish border for a week now.
Waiting drives you crazy.
Every mission is the same.
You have to be ready to leave and ready to stay.
An exhausting state of alert.
A convoy of journalists drove out last week,
but I arrived too late in the evening.
After they left, the land corridor was cut.
A helicopter was to leave the next day, but the wind came up.
Flying was impossible.
I just hope the Kurds
won't start their offensive before I arrive.
I should leave this room and go see Osman, my fixer.
Maybe we can leave this morning.
I should...
There are so many things I should do.
I should talk to Iris, too.
A mother who can't talk to her child.
A reporter who's not where the action is.
3 months that I've been incapable of being where I should be.
Corduene, Somewhere in Northern Kurdistan
You're constantly rushing things.
It's chaos, as usual!
We'll wait out the airstrikes, period.
So we're waiting for permission?
We should go blow them up!
You're not prepared.
What's she doing here?
She's a French journalist.
I don't need a crazy Western reporter
to tell me what to do!
The crazy speaks Kurdish.
Tiresh. Is your plan feasible?
Yes, it is.
Tiresh "the Spark," obsessed with explosives!
Say we blow everything up, then what?
We'll be massacred!
Enough yammering, comrade Berivan. What do you suggest?
I don't know. We should think this through.
General Zirek!
They expect us above ground.
They don't expect us to use the tunnels.
See that building over there?
- No. - Ok, doesn't matter.
It's their HQ.
There's a continuous tunnel leading to it.
We use it to reach their HQ.
It'll be mined.
We're not sitting around doing nothing.
It's foolish.
If you're afraid to die, don't come.
Dying's the least of my fears. There's just no strategic gain.
What would have a strategic gain, if you're so smart?
Yes. I'm all ears.
The hill.
That's impossible.
We'd lose too many men.
We've already lost a lot of women.
We'll wait for the coalition air-strikes.
Bahar's right.
Go through with it and you're on your own.
It wouldn't be the first time.
That's enough. We're all here today.
We're here to work together, not tear each other apart!
So what do we do?
We wait.
That too is warfare.
Comrade, Berivan!
I'm coming.
You're here?
What about you? We're all leaving!
It's so good to see you.
- I suppose you're not here to get me? - Nope.
The chopper's waiting, let's go!
You know, there's a reason why we're all leaving now!
You drank all the beer.
You haven't changed a bit.
Yeah, I'm hooked on lost causes.
The chopper that brought you is the last one out.
They're shutting down the airlift.
At least until the Kurds break the siege.
- I know. - There's another option.
You like hiking? North's that way.
Walk 40 km to the next Kurdish position,
through bearded territory...
Otherwise, where's the fun?
So you're abandoning me in the mountains?
How will I manage?
You think that's funny?
She means she's staying.
Mathilde, we all love you to bits.
So be careful.
We heard about David's death.
He was a great journalist. I'm really sorry.
I'm sorry, Mathilde.
We have to get going.
Love huddle?
Love huddle.
I'm Mathilde.
I told Berivan to assign you to someone else.
I'm sorry.
You speak French?
I studied in France.
What happened?
Shrapnel from a shell. Homs.
At least I can sleep anywhere now. I roll on my side and...
lights out.
What's your tattoo?
The names of my son and my husband.
So people will know, if I die.
In action?
In captivity.
My unit isn't quite like the others.
The girls are all former captives.
Yes, I was told you survived the Corduene massacre.
I interviewed a survivor. I'm sorry.
What did you study?
I'm a lawyer.
Was a lawyer.
Do you miss it?
That's not what I miss.
I hope you'll have enough blankets. It gets cold at night.
Dinner's in an hour.
I don't mind sleeping with you all.
No, we have to show you some hospitality.
But... there's a tunnel exit one door over.
They can come in at any time.
We do rounds, but sleep with a gun.
I'm not a fighter.
I wasn't a fighter either.
I'm teasing you.
We blocked it off.
There are tunnels in other buildings, so you never know.
Keep your ears open.
I'll see you later.
See you later.
Hemin, sweetheart.
Were you nice to grandma?
She keeps telling me
I should play more with the other children.
She won't let me read.
It's me!
It's me.
You heard it, too?
What was it?
I don't know.
I couldn't sleep so I went for a walk and heard some noise.
Come with me.
You can sleep, if you like.
I passed out for 4 hours, I can keep watch until dawn.
No, I stopped sleeping long ago. I doze, but I don't sleep.
What was it like in Homs?
Weren't you frightened?
I was.
But my photographer friend and I
broke the silence around Assad's slaughter.
For weeks civilians had been massacred.
It was important we go there.
But it was incredibly harsh.
In 20 years of war, I'd never seen non-stop shelling.
Sheer hell.
After 10 days, Assad sent us journalists a message.
He targeted the media center.
That's when I tried to flee.
I never made it to the exit. A piece of shrapnel...
pierced my eye.
My daughter still has panic attacks.
You have a daughter?
How did you get out of the city?
A group of rebels exfiltrated us.
They came on a motorcycle and strapped me to the driver.
They saved our lives.
We need to eat.
You want to eat?
Eat your children!
That goes for all of you!
Get back inside!
Wake up!
All the little boys, out!
Come with me!
With me!
Take him.
Get them all out!
Come, come, come...
Who have we here?
He's crazy!
I'm crazy too! It's perfect!
He's crazy! Don't take my son!
He's crazy!
I'll go wake the girls.
November 12
Can you hear me?
It's mommy.
Hi, Mommy.
Do you still have my bracelet?
How are things at Grandma's?
They're ok.
When are you coming back?
I miss you. I miss Dad.
I miss him, too.
You know I love you, right?
The sun is rising.
Wake up.
Good morning, sweetheart.
Wake up.
Good morning.
Good morning, comrades.
Comrade Amal.
Comrade Amal...
Wake up, young lady.
Time to get up.
This baby is the cutest thing.
She eats,
she sleeps,
she eats again
and sleeps again.
She won't wake up.
Leave me alone, I'm sleepy.
Comrade Amal?
Shall I make you some tea?
Would you do that for me, comrade Bahar?
Not my sister!
Take me instead!
Take me instead!
Not my sister!
Suzan, I'm here!
My sister...
I'm here!
I'm here!
Do you hear that?
The gunfire stopped an hour ago.
- Have you noticed, comrades? - What?
This silence doesn't bode well.
At all.
Comrade Ararat, what do you see?
Nothing, comrade Bahar.
No movement.
So what do we do?
We wait.
Here we are, we the Women
Here we are At the gates of the city
Here we are, ready to attack
We have faith We'll wipe them all out
It will be the new era of
Women, Life, Liberty
It will be the new era of
Women, Life, Liberty
They are for us Our final bullets
Our last grenades
Our bodies and our blood Will feed the land
Our children's children
Our milk will be red
From our death will spring life
Here we are, the Girls of Corduene
Here we are At the gates of the city
Here we are, ready to attack
We have faith A new day is dawning
It will be the new era of
Women, Life
We need backup.
Don't shoot, Tiresh!
Show your body!
God is great!
Spare me!
You're not dying today, you moron!
Excuse me? I'm Muslim, too!
Who is this? Where's my brother?
He's dead.
No, he's in paradise.
No, he's in front of me, stone cold dead.
And killed by a woman.
Care to join him?
They think they won't go to paradise if a woman kills them.
Too bad.
We're attacked, we capture a prisoner
and you don't come?
I lost one of my girls today!
Ok, ok. You're here now.
Would you like a bite to eat? Tea?
Are your men going to fight or leave again?
We should have attacked today.
I admire your courage, but be careful what you say.
I don't have to justify myself.
I spent all morning on the phone
trying to bring the coalition air-strikes in sooner.
Does he have anything to say?
Come here! Tell them what you told me.
They've practically abandoned the sector south of HQ,
except for a few men prepared to die.
Three streets away from HQ, there's a school.
Azadi Primary School, where I went as a child.
Most of the children are gone,
except for about 20, plus a few men on a suicide mission.
Take him outside.
Zirek, we have to attack.
We have to take the hill.
Bahar, I'm as impatient as you are.
You've been here a long time. You know the area better than anyone.
If they attack tonight?
Never by night.
Do they work nine-to-five? They attacked us at night!
We warned the population, but your men didn't hold out.
And I've heard enough about that!
My father didn't have a gun!
The air-strikes start tomorrow.
And then what?
Then what?
If we do that, we may win this battle, but we'll be weak.
The capture of Corduene is symbolic.
We take back Corduene quickly, cut off the road they use to refuel
and disorganize them.
We only need the coalition as backup.
The final victory starts here... and you'll reap the honors.
I got that part.
But it's impossible.
The tunnels.
The tunnels?
They used them to come here, we can do the same.
But the mines?
Ibrahim and his men mined them, he'll know where they are.
We'll land straight in their HQ.
You think he'll tell you?
If he leads the way, he'll tell me.
- They're suicide bombers. - Not him!
He's not like the others!
Ok, Bahar.
You and your unit lead, secure their HQ.
Tiresh will follow.
Then, we'll send in backup.
Be careful.
I won't disappoint you.
I won't disappoint you.
Are you claustrophobic?
Will you go through the tunnel with us to the other side?
- The other side? - To their HQ.
I need someone to report what we do.
There's a school...
with children.
My son may be there.
You know about the lion cub schools?
It's where they teach children to kill.
I'm going to get him.
I'd heard he might have been sent here,
but I wasn't sure they'd kept a school open.
Now I am.
The school is 3 streets away from HQ. At the foot of the hill.
Our only options are to die or fight.
Each of us must ask herself:
"How long can I take it?
If an enemy comes, will I be able to pull the trigger?"
The answer is yes.
You are capable of anything.
Your presence alone is a victory.
The very act of refusing oppression is a victory.
Fighting is a victory.
It's the enemy's turn to fear us
because we fear no one!
When they hear our female voices, they shake in fear.
We've been through the worst. What could be worse than that?
All they've killed is our fear.
With each sister who was captured, a warrior was born.
And that's what they'll never understand,
our rage to live.
- What will we do today? - Fight!
- What will we do today? - Fight!
Victory or victory!
Victory or victory!
Who will give the lead?
We will!
Together we will be stronger than fear!
Women, Life, Liberty!
Women, Life, Liberty!
Comrade Amal.
Comrade Ararat.
Comrade Rojin.
Mathilde, with me.
Stay behind us.
Keep your distance.
Go see if he's alive.
You're ok.
You're ok.
Look at me. Amal!
Look at me.
Look into my eyes.
Stay with me.
Sing with me.
Sing in your head.
Don't move!
Don't you move!
Let's go!
Let's move!
Long live free Kurdistan!
They're beautiful.
So beautiful.
After being captured, I was sold 4 times.
They lose interest quickly. After 2 or 3 weeks
they sell you off.
They're often foreigners.
It's a global business.
Whatever their nationality, they plow your belly the same way.
And I was old to their taste.
They pay most for girls aged 9 or 10.
I tried to escape once.
They caught me, whipped me,
then sold me on the slave market.
I ended up in the house of the weapons chief in Ninawa.
You seem exhausted.
Are you able to sleep?
Of the 7,000 women and children who were kidnapped,
at least half are still held captive.
How could I sleep?
I won't let up until they've all been freed.
We created an exfiltration network...
It's Dahlia Saeed.
... with men in every town.
When we can't exfiltrate, we buy the women back.
Are you not financing terrorism by doing that?
Would you rather
leave 10-year-old girls to be raped day and night?
Of course not. But it's a genuine dilemma.
Aren't you afraid of reprisals?
I receive death threats on a daily basis.
You know a deputy?
We met at university.
She was my professor.
The women I save
send me thank you messages every day.
Death is nothing, as long as I die with my head held high,
I've been told that I'm crazy
to go on television,
give my phone number
and interviews.
I must get this message to the women out there.
It's vital that somebody does it.
They need us.
Wherever you are, we will help you.
We will find you, we will come and help you escape.
It's never too late.
My phone number is:
Find a telephone, a battery, any way you can,
but call me.
Day and night, I'll be there to answer your call.
God keep you.
Ahmed, did you take my charger?
I'm not sure. Check on the desk.
You know what we do to thieves here?
I'm held prisoner, I saw you on TV, help us. Bahar.
Help is coming.
Send anything you know about your location,
the number of men, their habits, schedule...
Must move now if Lamia is about to give birth.
Today, during midday prayer. You'll have 10 minutes.
Follow instructions.
We'll never make it through the door.
They never lock it.
They know this town is a prison in itself.
If they catch us, they'll kill us.
They'll kill us anyway.
If we stay, they'll kill us.
If we leave, they'll kill us.
At least, we'll have tried.
If they kill us while we flee, it'll be for the best.
- What? - This is it.
This is what?
Where we wait for things to cool down.
Abu Mohammad.
Don't make a sound.
Some infidel bitches escaped. Did you see anything?
No. I'll let you know if I do.
They're gone.
We'll sleep downstairs tonight.
What is it?
My waters broke.
- Do you have contractions? - Yes.
We won't be able to leave after it's born.
It'll be too dangerous.
She must wait until tomorrow, once you're smuggled out of Ninawa.
You can explain to the baby that its timing is bad.
Don't get up.
Stay lying down.
I'm calling Dahlia.
This wasn't part of the plan.
It's 5,000 more
or they stay here.
You're going to walk to the soldiers.
They've been informed of your arrival.
Tell them Abu Hassan sends his greetings.
Hassan and Dahlia
will pick you up on the other side.
Islamic ID.
Thank you, Abu Mohammad.
No need to thank me.
Lamia, these are the 30 most important yards of your life.
I need to push!
If you push now, we die.
Don't give up.
We have 20 steps left.
We'll count together.
These are the 20 steps between you and freedom.
Focus on my voice.
Abu Hassan sends his greetings.
Welcome, sisters.
I'm here, you're not alone.
It's a girl!
Good night, comrades.
Good night.
I'm proud of you.
So proud of you.
Tomorrow is a day for victory.
The Americans!
Why did you decide to enlist?
I had a contact at the Ministry of Religious Affairs.
They'd gotten their hands on a video.
They asked me to confirm it was my son.
Hemin had been identified at the lion cub school in Corduene.
The next day, I saw Lamia at the women's center.
She told me she didn't want to be a victim,
that she was leaving to fight.
They'd just formed a unit of former captives.
It was my only chance to find Hemin.
Did you consider becoming a soldier?
You're always on the front taking risks.
I don't have that courage.
Being a witness is my place.
I'm not interested in handling a gun. It's not my story.
Even if reporting all these horrors
feels almost useless.
How can you say that?
People need to know the truth.
The impact truth has on people...
People could care less about the truth.
It's one click away, and tyrants still rise to power.
People buy promises,
They'll try anything to avoid seeing all this shit.
That doesn't mean the truth's not worth looking for and passing on.
As elusive as it may be.
Now I do it for myself
and the people whose paths I cross.
Because it feels right.
Because it's enough.
Because it inspires me.
That's my compass. That's what keeps me going.
Isn't it the people you love who keep you going?
The man I love blew up on a mine in Libya 3 months ago.
Sometimes being a reporter is no better than being a soldier.
And my daughter...
But, yes, of course...
She's the one who keeps me going.
I wouldn't have lasted a week without her.
November 13
One, two, three, four.
Don't shoot, there are still children!
Lamia's dead.
"Can you hear it, sisters?"
"The silence."
Commander Bahar closes her eyes,
focused on the dull, muffled silence of the fog.
A maroon scarf with pink flowers crowns her hair.
Despite herself,
despite everything,
she looks like a queen from a distant past.
It's almost freezing outside.
The clouds tirelessly embrace the treetops,
dance with the mountain,
flirt with the Earth.
As if so much beauty could erase the horrors they've seen.
And these women are standing.
Upright in the wind.
Upright despite everything.
What they've gone through is unfathomable.
In one night, one single night,
over 7,000 women were captured
and kept as sex slaves.
And when I say "women,"
I'm in denial of the unbearable truth.
there are also children.
Little girls, to be exact.
Helpless beings whose identities were suddenly annihilated.
Over half came back in the ensuing months
by escaping or being bought back.
And some of them even found the courage to go fight.
The women fighters start to sing.
"Our bodies and our blood Will feed the land
Our children's children
Our milk will be red
From our death will spring life
We have faith
A new day is dawning
It will be the new era of Women, Life, Liberty.
I've seen many wars.
I've seen many fighters.
But I had never been assigned to a battalion of women
and I find myself quivering from head to toe,
rekindling with a fragility I thought was lost long ago.
You think you've seen it all. You think you're hardened.
You think you're jaded,
and suddenly,
you remember why you chose this profession.
The strength of those who survive suddenly fills you,
with an absolute vital force.
Bahar asked me to write the truth when we parted.
The one that sticks in my mind is that of hunted women,
who lift up their heads and rise.
If they fall, others take over.
As for me, Mathilde H., war correspondent,
I quiver at the sound of their voices.
A performative song, a powerful song.
An ancestral song.
A song that urges us to rise.
A hope that defies the human condition.
The film is dedicated to all the women who fight,
to those who bear witness,
to the ones forgotten by History, and those who shape it.