Poster via IMDB
CAIRO – 27 July 2017: Matthew Heineman, director of the academy award winning 'Cartel Land' delivers another harrowing documentary film, 'City of Ghosts,' this time about the non-violent IS resistance group RBSS (Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently), a group of citizen journalists dedicated to fighting IS's propaganda.
Heineman was unable to directly film within Raqqa for his own safety, relying on footage either smuggled from Syria, showing brutal executions, or the HQ of RBSS in their Germany apartments, where they sit about in relative calm as they wage a war against IS through their laptops.
Indeed, it is information, not guns or bombs, which they wield as their weapon. As Heineman tells the Guardian; “So much of this film is about image-making, the power of images; and intellectually I was drawn into this story because I was fascinated by this war of ideas, this war of propaganda…
In my humble opinion, propaganda is one of the most evil tools humans have used against humans throughout history, to justify wars, justify atrocities, justify evil. IS has taken it to a new extreme."
Heineman's goal is also to humanize those struggling under IS, portraying not just as victims, but as real, living people as well.
We are shown scenes of RBSS members dancing, sitting together, and playing in the snow, all a stark contrast to scenes of utter evil and brutality, like one of the film's most horrific moments; Hamoud al-Mousa, one of the founders of RBSS, watching as his own father is executed by IS, a warning to him and others to stop their fight.
It only has the opposite effect, strengthening Hamoud's resolve. He watches it frequently.
RBSS's fight is not just against IS, sadly; even in Germany they face opposition by rising anti-immigrant sentiment against refugees, a matter only further complicating an already horrific situation for those fleeing the evils of IS.
City of Ghosts premiered on July 14, 2017.
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