Animation feature film

Sultana's Dream

72’

Original language: Basque
Bengali
English
Italian
Spanish

Subtitles:

Synopsis

In the year 1905 the Bengali writer Rokeya Hossein dreamed of Ladyland, a utopic land governed by women.  More than a century later, young Spanish director, Ines decides to set off on a journey of self-discovery following the traces of Rokeya and looking for Ladyland. 

Sultana's Dream tells of the impact that a feminist science fiction book written in Bengal in 1905 has today on Ines a young woman from Spain. Ines is unable to dream, clings to this book and its author like a lifesaver and a mirage…

Inés, a Spanish artist in her thirties lives in Ahmedabad, India. She feels lost and unable to dream while her relationship with her lover Ámár is also breaking down. On her way to meet Ámár, she stops at a bookstore and accidentally comes across a book whose title and cover calls her attention: Sultana's Dream by the Bengali author Rokeya Hossein. The book tells the story of Ladyland: a place where women hold the power while men, live in segregation and take care of the domestic chores. This feminist Utopia awakes Inés’s desire to know more about the author and her works. 

Rokeya Hossain was born in 1880 a Muslim family in Bengal and learned to read and write secretly as it was considered that an educated woman would challenge the authority of the male figures. Despite the traditional believes, and against her cultural and religious background, Rokeya dedicated her life to founding schools for girls and setting up professional schools for women.  She also wrote, essays, novels and articles on the subject of women condition. Rejected by her Family and community she spends the last days of her life in Sodepur, a small-town north of Kolkata, where she found solace among a small group of women activists.

Inés returns to her hometown of San Sebastian, Spain to spend some time with her mom a pragmatic woman who is opposed to the idea of being carried away by dreams.  While in San Sebastian Inés participates on an exhibit on organized by her friend Paul Preciado a philosopher who encourages her to pursue on her research of Rokeya and Ladyland. After visiting her father, a film producer in Rome, Inés decides to return to India and look for the traces of Rokeya and her works.

Back in India, Inés comes across a young Indian woman, Sudhanya, who is also interested in Rokeya's figure and who will accompany Inés in her quest for the traces of Rokeya and finally Ladyland. They meet a professor of gender studies at the University of Calcutta, who advised them to visit Vrindavan, the city of widows. A paradigm of how a believe can drive women to accept abusive conditions. Inés and Sudhanya are expelled from the Ashram and Inés questions than her own life and the purpose of finding Ladyland. 

Back in Ahmedabad, Inés meets Ámár for the last time and follows a group of blind women into the narrow’s streets of the old city. The music guides Inés into a huge esplanade. There she finds people celebrating Garba, a ceremony of renewal and birth. Ines follows the dancers into a blinding tunnel. There she meets Rokeya Hossein who shows her a dream that is weaved with everything she has lived and where the traces of her discoveries and adventure is collected, her own Ladyland.

BASQUE PRODUCTION COMPANY

SULTANA FILMS S.L.

Director: Isabel Herguera

Year: 2022

Available territories: