Published in Australia in 2003, Forbidden Lies by Norma Khouri was the true story of a young Muslim woman, Dalia, who was killed by her family in Jordan because she had fallen in love with a Christian soldier, a relationship forbidden by her religion. Forbidden Lie$ is a 2007 documentary about the scandal that led to its removal from bookshops around the globe after its author was discovered to be a fraud.
With the story little known in the UK, the documentary does well at summarising the pre-publication of the book through to its critical acclaim, before throwing the audience a curve ball and revealing that Norma wasn’t who she said she was.
The use of re-enactments may be well done but it’s the involvement of Norma Khouri herself which really gives this film its edge. Khouri’s relaxed response to the wealth of criticism and evidence against her is astonishing, an acting job worthy of the Oscars.
With some great characters and a story that would be hard to believe even if it were turned into a Hollywood movie, this is an intriguing look into the mind of a woman who seems to struggle with reality while those around her suffer.
Preview by Jonathan Melville
Forbidden Lie$ is part of the London Australian Film Festival and screens at Edinburgh’s Filmhouse on Tuesday 29 July, see the website for full details.