Coming to DVD and digital download tomorrow, Tuesday, April 2:
François Margolin and Lemine Ould Salem
Biarritz FIPA 2016
An unfiltered look at radical jihadist ideology.
More or less banned in France to prevent the spread of propaganda, and not released in the US until several years after its 2016 debut, Margolin and Salem’s rather rough-looking project aims to offer an inside look at fundamentalist Islam, from the mouths of adherents themselves. In practicality, this means the film consists of a parade of poorly shot talking heads espousing the virtues of sharia law, and the righteousness of whipping, mutilating, or stoning sinners, with an introduction and intermittent interjections from Margolin sitting at his desk offering brief statements or background about the content or production challenges. Filling out the project are clips from Islamic State propaganda videos, serving as a substitute for the filmmakers’ inability to access subjects in Syria and Iraq. While a strong project conceivably could be made that simply presents chilling jihadist ideology, allowing its speakers to shock the audience and perhaps motivate them to oppose its message in some way, even in the absence of counterarguments or pointed editing, this attempt falls short, its distracting, amateurish production values and approach failing to prove compelling.