“9 days in Raqqa”: the tenacity of a young woman, mayor of a symbolic city ravaged by war, told in a documentary

Raqqa, a city in northern Syria on the banks of the Euphrates, and a self-proclaimed former capital of the Islamic State, porte the marks of the occupation of Daesh at every street corner. Everything has been destroyed and everything needs to be rebuilt. Her young mayor Leila Mustapha fights to give backr life in his city and establish a democracy there.

Director Xavier de Lauzanne went to meet him in the company of thea French journalist and writer Marine de Tilly venue in Raqqa for nine days in order to write its history. The documentary 9 days in Raqqa which is the story, paints a portrait of this courageous woman. Selected at the 2020 Cannes Film Festival, the film is in theaters Wednesday, September 8.

Leila Mustapha is at the heart of the documentary. His cutting into nine days allows the mayor of himself deliver gradually. Little by little we enter into her privacy: we follow her first to her workplace and into the city, then in the evening on the bed, in her room, where the meetings take place. interviews. Another moment of proximity, the meeting of Leila’s parents who take us to the grave of one of his close friends.

Civil engineer, Leila Mustapha was appointed co-chair of the Raqqa Civil Council just after the liberation of the city. One of the rare women in this world of men, she knows how to make herself listen and seems to inspire respect and confidence. Exceptional thing given the condition in which the woman was held in Raqqa under the regime of the Islamic State. Skillfully, the documentary highlights this historical context, interspersed with clips from TV newspapers and other videos major events of recent years.

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Leila Mustapha in "9 days in Raqqa, Life after Daesh, Part 1" by Xavier de Lauzanne (2021) (JEAN-MATTHIEU GAUTIER)

Through the portrait of Leila Mustapha, it is also that of Raqqa that is revealed. City in ruins where everything needs to be rebuilt, a childhood town for which it fights nonstop. 9 days in Raqqa is a song of pain, carried by the music of Ibrahim Maalouf, composed for the film, which accompanies the images of the city, like a lament. But the documentary also delivers a message of hope and optimism for Leila Mustapha which shows us both the extent of the sites and the re-construction in progress, aided in this by thees beautiful shots by photographer Jean-Matthieu Gautier.

Leila Mustapha on the movie poster "9 days in Raqqa" by Xavier de Lauzanne. & nbsp;  (ALOEST FILMS AND ECHO STUDIO / ALLOCINE)

Kind : Documentary
Director : Xavier from Lauzanne
With : Leila Mustapha, Marine de Tilly, Gulistan Sido
Country : France
Duration : 89 minutes
Exit : September 8, 2021
Distributer : Aloest Movies and Echo Studio

Synopsis : Leila Mustapha, 30, civil engineer, three times major in her class, is the young mayor of Raqqa, the former self-proclaimed capital of the Islamic state in Syria. Immersed in a world of men, her mission is to rebuild her city in ruins after the war, to reconcile and to establish democracy there. An extraordinary mission. A French writer crosses Iraq and Syria to meet her. In this still dangerous city, she has 9 days to live with Leila and discover her story.

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