27th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival
director: Zaynê Akyol
original title: Rojek
running time: 128 min.
synopsisThe Islamic State is usually presented as an elusive, disembodied evil, materializing only during terrorist attacks. Director Zaynê Akyol decided to look the vague threat in the face and give it a concrete form. She gained unique access to dozens of detained jihadists from around the world, interviewing their wives as well. Instead of the interrogations they’re used to, she lets them talk freely about their childhoods, their faith, their dreams and experiences, and the history of the feared organization. She juxtaposes their chilling vision of a worldwide caliphate—which they refuse to give up even after the fall of ISIS—with aerial footage of Syria, decimated by fanatics like them who put ideology above human life.
“It was a very emotional film for me to make. That is why I went to meet the Other, this enemy of the world, to listen and try to understand him. Of course, such a tête-à-tête would never have been possible were it not for the pretext of filmmaking.”
biographyDirector and photographer Zaynê Akyol (* 1987) was born in Turkey to Kurdish parents. Today she lives in Canada. In 2016, after finishing her university studies in Montreal, she made a feature-length documentary about female Kurdish fighters, Gulîstan, Land of Roses, which was screened at Ji.hlava as well as dozens of other festivals. In Locarno, the film won the Doc Alliance Selection Award.
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