The failed break for freedom of a princess
HUGELY sad and a compelling story, this documentary begins with Princess Latifa, daughter of the ruler of Dubai, talking to a home video. “I’m not sure of the outcome, but I’m 99 per cent positive it will work,” she says, adding: “If you’re watching this video, it’s not a good thing.
“Either I’m dead or I’m in a very, very bad situation.”
In February, the 33-year-old daughter of Sheikh Mohammed boarded a boat and set sail for India with a plan to start a new life in America.
But within days her boat was stormed by Indian commandos – she was captured and presumably returned to Dubai.
No one has heard from her since.
Before her attempted escape, she made the video, entrusting it to a lawyer in America, and it was released on YouTube days later. This fascinating documentary pieces everything together, with Latifa herself essentially the narrator as we watch her video throughout.
We hear of her seemingly perfect life, with wealth and luxury and money on tap.
But the reality was very different.
“Everything is very restricted,” she says.
The shiny, hedonistic, modern lifestyle of Dubai is “all PR”, she says.
Latifa tells how she tried to escape in 2002 when she was 16, but was caught at the border.
She claims she was imprisoned and tortured repeatedly before her release aged 19.
The film asks, is the luxury holiday image of Dubai actually hiding a brutal dictatorship of human rights abuses where tourists can be locked up for as little as kissing in public?
There’s also an interview with Latifa’s best friend Tina Jauhiainen, who helped with her escape plans but watched her being dragged away by the commando unit.
Princess Latifa, left, and Tina Jauhiainen