Documentary Review: “Speed Sisters” (2015) ★★★★


A life under occupation can’t bring stability nor happiness unless you have something that will make you forget about the unpleasant condition around you. In Amber Fares’ documentary film SPEED SISTERS, you will get a chance to find out about four incredibly strong women and their team captain, who broke gender stereotypes in the patriarchal Islamic World, by becoming the first women to break into the male-dominated Palestinian street-car racing world.

SPEED SISTERS begins with the introduction of four women: Noor, who finds herself happy in a beautifully modified car, Mona, who does not care about the trophies but the feeling of release she gets each time she races, Betty, who believes that racing is in her blood as she grew up in a family of racers, Marah Zahalka, perhaps one of the most ambitious woman who wants the whole world to know there’s a girl called Marah who represents Palestine, Maysoon, the team captain, who navigates their world across the West Bank but not limited to.

The great and quite inspiring start of this film continues throughout as you get deep into the world of occupied Palestine, which you don’t see often. It’s the season one in Palestine Motor Sports Circuit, where Khaled, Head, Racing Federation explains the rule of objection, that can be submitted only in writing, while Maysoon, the team captain states that, “it’s uncommon to see girls racing anywhere in the world. These four women are first entered to the world of car racing in Arab World to compete against guys, and in the meantime, to compete for the title of the fastest woman.”

Racing is not the only thing being told in this film, as you get close insight of their lifestyle, visions, how they try to cross the Israeli checkpoint and not be injured by any chance. But the most fascinating part of this story is where the impossibility of pursuing a dream without the support of family members. This is where the open-minded parents of all four girls comes to the picture where they support all the way from disappointment to the achievement, as their beloved children shape a new history of Palestine in a way nobody could have ever imagined.

As the struggle continues, the four girls continue on their mission to become who they always wanted to be, however, it’s never easy to compete against each other, because there is only one winner after all. Amber Fares, who flawlessly tells the story here, tries to concentrate the viewer’s attention not only on the racing world, where women are not too welcome, but the life they have across the Bank, where occupied Palestine can’t afford to have a life even with minimal needs. However, no matter how hard it is, these four women continue chasing their dream winning one title after another to make Palestine feel proud of them. And that’s all what matters most.



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