Friday, October 22, 2021

The film’s promise: ‘They are suffering in hellish conditions’

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THE FILM’S PROMISE The film depicts one victim’s decision to dress up in an Isis uniform, “to feel comfortable as a member of the enemy”, says their advocate on how the film went from idea to reality

Women Enslaved, an upcoming film, focuses on what it is like to be part of the Islamic State’s “lifestyle”.

Participants won’t be able to escape from what the film claims was their “shared oppression” under the terrorist group’s rule.

Producer Katherine Baines and the former director Michael S. Little were involved in efforts to realise the film, and have been nominated for a Crime Story for their efforts.

In an email to Knox News, Baines said: “We believed women joining the Islamic State and dressing in an Islamist-inspired uniform is a form of oppression, violence and degradation, and is wrong.”

When I asked them how their involvement in the project came about, they replied: “The Idea was founded by the fact that Yazidi women joining ISIS were taking on the role of sex slaves, completely allowing men to abuse them and forcing them to live in hellish conditions.

“I thought it was very important to show the life of a woman living in a household without a man. It’s a very different lifestyle to what they lived under Daesh.”

The film, which will premiere on YouTube in February, is planned as a narrative feature that could be released as a film trilogy.

The film’s message also links it to Islamic State, claiming the terrorist group had “sold women for ransom and raped young girls for fun”.

Troy Groom, a terrorist expert with the United States Institute of Peace, told Knox News the project had the potential to “polarise the audience”.

“If it’s viewed as showing the plight of women who were lured into an Islamic State family, then it will portray them in a way that resonates with the public,” he said.

“If it’s seen as going beyond that to show rather than fix, then it will also alienate the average audience member.”

The film’s slogan – “The cheering is over” – has sparked anger from some viewers, who say it is disrespectful to women who were enslaved in the country.

One Twitter user said: “The film does little to refute the argument that ordinary women from the Yazidi minority were kidnapped and enslaved by ISIL.

“But rather than portraying these victims as courageous victims, the film trivialises their humiliation in the film.

“In a relationship with their abuser, women who were held as sex slaves, kidnapped, and eventually converted to Islam, would have cried out for help.

“For the film to offer nothing more than silence, no reaction, or resigned images of these victims do to no one more than demean those who loved them and liberated them.”

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