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Letters from Baghdad The story of Gertrude Bell (1868-1926) – archaeologist, explorer, spy, British political powerhouse, and the uncrowned ‘Queen of the Desert’ – requires no Hollywoodisation, and this film lends almost none. In a bold approach, directors Sabine Krayenbühl and Zeva Oelbaum rely on the photographs and writings of Bell herself, alongside contemporary film […]

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Film Review: Letters from Baghdad

If there has ever been a historical figure readymade for a biographical documentary, it’s Gertrude Bell (1868-1926): archaeologist, explorer, spy, British political powerhouse, and the uncrowned ‘Queen of the Desert’. Hers is a story that requires no Hollywoodisation, and Letters from Baghdad lends almost none. In a bold approach, directors Sabine Krayenbühl and Zeva Oelbaum […]

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FILM REVIEW: Finding Altamira

Paul Bahn sifts fact from fiction in the silverscreen telling of an extraordinary discovery. Rarely does a true archaeological story become the basis of a movie. Yet this is what we have with Finding Altamira. It recounts the discovery in 1879 of Ice Age art on a cave ceiling at Altamira, provoking intense and acrimonious […]

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CWA 81

At their peak in the 4th century AD, the people who built Teotihuacan in Mexico ruled an empire every bit as impressive as that of Rome on the other side of the world. Yet we don’t even know their name, nor why they mysteriously abandoned their colossal capital city in the 7th century AD, some […]