|May 18, 2022||May 29, 2022||Filmin|
Alba Sotorra’s exclusive access to the al-Roj camp in northeastern Syria shows us the harsh reality of a group of women trapped by their past as members of ISIS. Shamima Begum (UK) and Hoda Muthana (USA) left their countries manipulated by terrorist propaganda and social media hatred. They were demonized by the media and now no one wants to know anything about them.
Does sincere repentance deserve a second chance? Can it be justified that Western countries accept the return of their children but won’t allow their mothers to return? The Catalan director strives to understand the nuances of a complex and delicate situation.
Following the lives of Shamima, Hoda, Hafida, Nawal and Kimberly for two years puts us in an uncomfortable position, but their testimony makes us understand the cruelty, abuse and misogyny they have experienced. Sotorra’s sensitivity to observe without prejudice highlights the urgent need to establish an honest and empathetic dialogue between different cultures, religions, genders and worldviews.
Sotorra's film is put together with remarkable poise and intelligence, considering the fraught territory it traverses.— Jessica Kiang · Variety
Sotorra's documentary, a powerful and fascinating portrait of a group that was never the focus during ISIS's height of terror, sees these women with overwhelming empathy.— Michael Frank · The Spool
Although the question is of course far more nuanced than Sotorra presents, her film is still a vital part of the puzzle.— Fionnuala Halligan · Screen International
The Return: Life After ISIS lends illuminating perspective to an extremely complex and thorny issue.— Shaun Munro · Flickering Myth