#HotDocs22 @hotdocs: Rojek (April 29, 2022)

The Syrian Democratic Forces, mostly Kurdish, as well as the international coalition, have succeeded in dislodging the Islamic State from their last stronghold and ending their project of establishing a caliphate in Syria. Today, thousands of Islamic State members, along with their wives and children, end up in prisons and camps under the supervision of the Kurds. With extraordinary access, we travel through Syria and inside makeshift prisons, where detainees speak candidly about their motivations, experiences and loyalties, offering an incredible range of perspectives on the formation, rise and defeat of the Islamic State. (Mariam Zaidi / Hot Docs)

Review: “Rojek” is one of the best documentaries of the Hot Docs film festival. The viewer is provided with portraiture with a heartbeat. Deeply personal interviews with Islamic State members’ that at times reluctantly details their life trajectory are revealed. We learn more about their faith, culture and lived experiences that shaped their sense of selves. Their narratives are painted in bold colours for the viewer to consider. There are also darker shades which challenge our worldviews as a western audience. “Rojek” is a documentary that you will be hard pressed to find chronicled in a book, magazine or online. The viewer is walked through rubble streets, destroyed homes and faces of individuals whom have lost everything but their lives. “Rojek” provides an opportunity to reflect deeply and also quietly encouraged to learn more.

Thirty Four Flavours Rating: 5/5

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