ABOUT "Queen of the Desert"
England, 1892 - As the 19th century draws to a close, a woman who will forever change the shape of the Middle East leaves the stuffy confines of Oxford to visit an uncle in Tehran (Persia). Her name is Gertrude Bell, and during her lifetime she will become a renowned writer, world traveler, political officer, archaeologist, and spy.
Bored to tears by her aristocratic life in England, Werner Herzog’s Bell dreams of a far more adventurous life. She begs her father to send her somewhere, anywhere, so that she can see the world. He obliges by sending her to the British embassy in Tehran.
This is not the last time Gertrude Bell will opt for the path less traveled.
In Tehran, she meets an embassy secretary, Henry Cadogan, who sweeps her off of her feet. Young love blossoms and sparks fly, but before long it becomes clear that the two are star-crossed lovers. The romance is stamped out by Bell’s family who will not give their blessing to the match.
To forget her broken heart, the headstrong Bell throws herself into her work which leads to remarkable adventures and the acquisition of enemies and friends including T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia). Throughout her journeys, Bell finds herself alternately sought after by and at odds with her own country. While she possess knowledge that no one else has and therefore is ultimately needed by Britain, she is also viewed as an unwelcome visitor. Not only is Bell a civilian but a women in what can only be described as a “boys’ club”.
However, she refuses to let anything stop her explorations or even slow her down. In fact, from the time of World War I up until her death she is the only woman to hold political power and influence in shaping British imperial policy in the Middle East.
Werner Herzog’s Queen of the Desert is the inspirational true story of the pioneer, Gertrude Bell, that the world forgot... until now.