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[Sundance ’22] ‘Sirens’ review: Little bit of everything, not enough of one thing

Poetry, romantic dinners, and sex

Sirens is a documentary with a lot on its mind. The film follows the all woman thrash metal band, Slaves to Sirens. It is also a story of independence, discovery, friendship, protest, and love. The documentary starts by introducing the band. A few things become clear early on. The five women have formed a tight bond. This is reinforced throughout Sirens as they navigate the ups and downs of trying to become music superstars.

It is also obvious that founders and guitarists Lilas Mayassi and Shery Bechara will receive much of the focus. Sirens is more about these two than it is the band as a whole. The film explores their friendship and how things are changing for the two. As the two get older, expectations are forced upon them. Lilas is forced to live at home until she is married and has children. For her part, Lilas is part of the LGBTQ community, but cannot tell her mother.

Meanwhile, Shery is nearing thirty and many around her are curious as to when she will have children. While she does not have to hide her sexual preference, she does not conform to the society’s norms. Her parents are more supportive, but life is still difficult. Sirens takes place against a backdrop of political turmoil. In between clips of the band and its two founders, there are scenes of riots and attacks. There is a sense of constant turmoil during the film. Even in the best of times, violence can break out at any time.

[Sundance '22] 'Sirens' review: Little bit of everything, not enough of one thing

Director Rita Baghdadi’s willingness to take on so many issues makes for an emotionally powerful documentary. Sirens builds its main characters and its fragile setting. Everything is interesting, but by working with so much, nothing seems fully developed. A stronger focus would have made for a better watch. Still, it is a fine addition to the Sudance Film Festival.

The Sundance Film Festival is online January 20- January 30. Tickets can be purchased and a full lineup can be found here.

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