#HOTDOCS: “THE RETURN: LIFE AFTER ISIS”
By Justin Waldman
There are very few Documentaries that feel as timely and powerful as The Return: Life after ISIS, as it follows several women but focuses on two specifically. These women left their respective homes to join ISIS, have left ISIS and want to return to their home countries, except they are no longer welcomed.
Since their home countries no longer are accepting them back home, they are trapped in Syria and living in detention camps with their children who they are taking care of. Their stories are told, mainly through the writing workshop that they are doing to talk about why they joined. The Documentary asks its audience to re-evaluate any predetermined notions that would be had about women who joined ISIS and changed their mind and want to return back to their normal life.
#SXSW: “THE RETURN: LIFE AFTER ISIS”
By Amanda Gilmore
This timely Documentary follows a group of Western women who left their respective countries to join ISIS. Now they want to return home but their countries don’t want them back. Therefore, resulting in them and their children being held in detention camps in northern Syria.
Director Alba Sotorra Clua has created an empathetic and sensitive documentary by giving these women a chance to tell their story. Two women in the camp many may have heard about before, are Shamima Begum, who left the UK with her two friends as a teenager, and Hoda Muthana, who allegedly incited her followers on Twitter to support the Islamic State.
We follow a group of women at a detention camp as they take care of their children. We hear their stories primarily through a writing workshop that is run by local Kurdish woman Sevinaz. Her program encourages the women to journal about why they came to Syria to join ISIS, what happened when they came, and how they feel looking back.
With The Return’s direction by Sotorra Clua, the audience is challenged to re-evaluate preconceived judgements of these women.
The Return: Life After ISIS screens at SXSW: Wednesday, March 17 at 3 PM ET