Alba Sotorra
El retorn, la vida després de l'ISIS
Part of
El retorn, la vida després de l'ISIS

El retorn, la vida després de l'ISIS

Alba Sotorra

90 min.
Spain and United Kingdom
Arabic and English
Subtitles: Catalan, Spanish and English

How to forgive the manipulated people by ISIS? The harsh reality of a group of women trapped by their past compels us to ask ourselves difficult questions.


Alba Sotorra
Executive Production
Alba Sotorra Clua, Vesna Cudic, Sam Collyns
Jordi Ribas
Alba Sotorra, Clua Vesna Cudic, Carles Torras
Cinematography director:
Lara Vilanova, Gris Jordana, Núria Roldós
Michael Nollet, Xavi Carrasco
Júlia Parés, Alba Sotorra Clua
Composició musical
Mehmud Berazi, Josefina Rozenwasser

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.

DocsBarcelona Panorama Section, supported by ARTE

About the direction
Alba Sotorra

Alba Sotorra


Alba Sotorra Clua is an independent filmmaker and producer, the founder of the Barcelona based produ...

DocsBarcelona Trajectory

DocsBarcelona Festival · Panorama
Edició 2021
Young Reteena Jury Award · DocsBarcelona
Edició 2021
Audience Award · DocsBarcelona
Edició 2021
Docs del Mes · Octubre
Edició 2021

Awards and festivals

SXSW Film Festival
USA, 2021
Hot Docs
Canada, 2021
Cleveland International Film Festival
USA, 2021
Doxa Film Festival
Canada, 2021
USA, 2021
Thessaloniki Doc Film Fest
Greece, 2021
Alba Sotorra
El retorn, la vida després de l'ISIS
Watch the trailer
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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
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