La Route d'Istanbul

Road to Istanbul
Elisabeth lives with her twenty-year-old daughter Elodie in an idyllic house in the Belgian countryside. She is not unduly concerned when Elodie does not come home one night, assuming at first that she is staying over with a female friend. When the police inform her that her daughter has left the country to join the ranks of Islamic State in Syria, she is flabbergasted. Incredulous, she begins to investigate. A video message reveals that Elodie has been leading a double life about which her mother had no suspicion. Elisabeth cannot comprehend what on earth has possessed her daughter to go and join a war in a far-off country that, as far as she can see, has nothing to do with Elodie’s life. Since no official help is forthcoming, she sets off to make her own way across the Turkish border into Syria to bring Elodie home.
Rachid Bouchareb, who has already explored parental anxiety about radicalised children in London River (Berlinale 2009), here addresses an issue of pressing topicality. The mother’s journey from the orderly West into the chaos and violence of a conflicted land is the perfect metaphor for her inner desperation.
by Rachid Bouchareb
with Astrid Whettnall, Pauline Burlet, Patricia Ide, Abel Jafri
Algeria / France / Belgium 2016 100’

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