The Dead Woman
Original title: Surnud Naine
Length: 100 min
Genre: Modern hostage drama
Year of production: 2021
Production country: Estonia-Sweden-Finland
Starring: Frida Westerdahl, Ali Suliman, Ann Petrén, Magnus Krepper, Jessica Grabowsky
Director: Kadri Kõusaar
Producer: Aet Laigu
Co-Producers: Most Film AB, producer Charlotte Most; Greenlit Productions, producers Essi Haukkamaa & Merja Ritola
In the prelude of the film, Ingrid - an intelligent and beautiful 40-year old Western photojournalist visits Sinai to finalise her photoshoot for her upcoming exhibition on female circumsision. She has made a decision to end her increasingly more dangerous foreign fieldworks and stay home and finally start a family with her boyfriend Daniel (50).
Following the successful opening night of her exhibition, Ingrid finds out that Daniel has been lying to her all this time. In fact, he has had vasectomy done long time ago already and was secretly hoping that Ingrid would eventually give up on wanting a baby. After confronting Daniel, Ingrid decides to accept her latest assignement back to Sinai, which she has previously refused.
Back in Egypt, Ingrid and her Bedouin guide Zaid (50) visit a remote oasis in the middle of the Sinai desert. It's where a former global terrorist Sheikh (70) lives now, having made an absolute transformation into a peaceful sufi. Ingrid is the first journalist who has been invited into the oasis, but Sheikh pleads that their encounter be held secret until his book is finished. After the encounter with the Sheikh and nearly escaping an air strike on the oasis where they’ve just left, Zaid takes Ingrid back to her hotel.
In the early morning however, Ingrid is being kidnapped! - Ali (38), a handsome dark haired guy with a moustache and western clothes, and Bashir (35), a fat guy with a tight yellow sweatshirt (both Palestinians), have broken into her room and on gunpoint, force her to wear a niqab, swallow some sleeping pills, and get to a van with them. After couple of hallucinatory awakenings, Ingrid finally wakes up on a thin mattress in a tiny hut in the middle of the desert. Ali, who had been left to guard her, claims to be just a soldier, and that his boss will turn up soon to explain further.
While waiting for Moussa (40) – the boss, a routine is being established between the prioner and her guard, but also first feelings start to emerge. Businessman-like Moussa relays to Ingrid that she shouldn't take it personally, they're merely defending their people and looking for money to support Palestinian schools and hospitals. A hostage video is made to reach the potential “funders” of their “noble cause”.
Gradually, Ali and Ingrid become more friendly and their routine gets more relaxed. Surprisingly, they find many more similarities in their life than differences and their attraction becomes also physical – they make love in the dunes.
As getting the hoped ransom proves more difficult for the kidnappers than they anticipated, the situation becomes increasingly hostile for Ingrid, who's now scared for her life.
During one of their routine walks in the dunes, Ingrid notices a secret Bedouin sign for landmines that her guide Zaid had once pointed out to her. She has to choose whether to let Ali walk into the minefield or save him.