What are you gonna do when the world’s on fire? Zaynê Akyol observes a fire that burns with seemingly inextinguishable force in Rojek. – – Rojek is a work of poetic inquisitiveness years-in-the-making. The film explores how the state recovers from the aftermath of war. More provocatively, though, Rojek interrogates the longevity of peacetime as Akyol, a Kurd herself, sits down with members of ISIS to learn what motivates them. This absorbing and admirably even-handed documentary looks the beast in the eye to weigh the context, cost, and consequences of fundamentalism.
Pat Mullen, POV Magazine
Complemented by a multitude of sequences depicting the everyday reality of post-war Syrian Kurdistan, a greater part of Rojek consists of talking-heads-style interviews with individual Daesh followers. To make sense of their engagement with the group, the creators, whose presence is limited to the audible sphere as they never physically enter the frame, pose various questions to their now-imprisoned counterparts. As a result, the attention is focused solely on the Islamists who share their own personal experiences; not just what drove them to join Daesh, the nature of their role within the group and its day-to-day functions, but also how they alone feel about matters such as faith and interpersonal relationships. Finally, we are left with a strand of varied, at times even touching human stories intertwined with a shared attribute – an ultimate devotion to the rules of the highly cherished, much-esteemed religion.
Karolina Zanova, Modern Times Review
The film is also available online throughout the festival!
The director Zaynê Akyol is present in the screening on Thu, Feb 2.