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Ajyal Film Review: ‘#chicagoGirl: The Social Network Takes on a Dictator’

Dec 02, 2014

By Kummam (Kemz) Al Maadeed

As I write this review, I still have goose bumps from this film! It’s a documentary that follows Ala’a, a 19-year-old Syrian woman living in Chicago, who is one of the biggest online opponents of the Assad regime in Syria. Via her computer and mobile phone, she is supporting rebels on the ground by uploading their videos, mobilising protests, and even deactivating their online accounts if they are arrested by authorities. Ala’a is a truly inspiring woman, and an example of how modern technology can affect not just one person, but a whole nation!

Ala’a’s story is the heart of the film, but the way it is presented to us by director Joe Piscatella gives the film its edge. He builds up the story by giving us an analytical glimpse of Ala’a, the revolution and the history of the Syrian regime, all through the words of Ala’a, her fellow rebels and various experts. This provides the viewer with the context needed to understand the situation.

In just 70 minutes, the film shows us the great risk the rebels, including Ala’a, take every day. When Ala’a received a death threat, my heart skipped a beat. I have nothing but admiration for her and all those who sacrifice themselves for the freedom of their country.

This movie makes you reflect on your life and the choices you make. A 19-year-old woman has changed her whole life, putting herself in danger because she believes in a cause. All I can think is just WOW!

The film is very inspiring and a very well constructed documentary. It was done in a way that will appeal to a lot of viewers – which is great, since the cause in Syria needs this kind of attention.

This is a must-see movie at the Ajyal Youth Film Festival! It screens at 8:30 PM on Wednesday, 3 December 3, at Katara 12 Theatre A (K12-A) and again at 5:45 PM on Saturday, 6 December 6 at Katara 12 Theatre B (K12-B).

For more information, to see the trailer and to purchase tickets, please click here.

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