Forbidden Lie$: Broinowski’s Docu

Roxie Releasing presents the US theatrical release of “Forbidden Lie$,” a documentary by Anna Broinowski.  Winner of numerous prizes, including two Australian Film Critics Awards, two Australian Film Institute Awards, Golden Gate Award at the SF international Film Festival Special Jury Prize, and Golden Award at the Al Jazeera International Film Festival, “Forbidden Lie$ will open in New York at the Cinema Village on April 3, and in Los Angeles at the Laemmle Theaters on April 10.  Other cities will follow.

In July 2004, Norma Khouri, best-selling author of “Forbidden Love” (US title “Honor Lost: Love and Death in Modern-Day Jordan”), was exposed as a fake.  In Australia, she’d won fame and fortune as a Jordanian virgin on the run from Islamic extremists who’d put a Fatwah on her head for her campaign against honor killings. But she was really Norma Bagain, a Chicago real estate agent and mother of two, on the run from the FBI for one million dollars of fraud.

When director Anna Broinowski read Malcolm Knox’s Sydney Morning Herald article exposing Norma Khouri as a hoax, she knew she’d found the subject for her next documentary. “I wanted to know what kind of woman could be so brilliant that while on the run from the FBI she could reinvent herself as a Jordanian virgin with a Fatwah on her head, write a best-seller, and convince the best publishing and media minds in the world that she was telling the truth.”

As we follow Norma to Jordan to meet with people she says will “prove that Dalia, (the woman in her book) existed, that she was murdered, and that the media has lied”, we also investigate Norma’s criminal past. Will the FBI arrest her? Is her passion to stop honor crimes genuine, or just a new con? Who do you believe, as you watch Norma’s web of stories spinning ever faster, ensnaring everyone, including the filmmaker? Is she a calculating sociopath, a damaged soul craving the limelight, a genuine martyr, or simply a monster, who states, that “if Bush and Blair can spin the truth about WMDs to justify bombing innocent people then why can’t I spin Dalia’s story to save women from being murdered on a daily basis?”

In a spin-driven era, as the lines between truth and fiction grow increasingly blurred, “Forbidden Lie$” is a real-life thriller for our time. Weaving murder, deceit, greed, the East/West clash and an international literary scandal into a web that entangles us all, Norma Khouri’s real-life drama is even stranger than her fiction.

Running time: 104 Minutes.