The Father, the Son and the Holy Jihad – Director, Stéphane Malterre

I chose this film at the last moment as I had time between two others I had pre-booked. I am glad I did because I learned a lot about Islam and jihad and what motivates those who choose to fight in the Middle East. The film follows the lives of a muslim family in France and in the first place one of their sons who becomes radicalized and returns to the family home in Syria as the civil war in that country started. He goes to fight against Assad and joins the rebels as opposed to ISIS and finds himself in the middle of a confusing and vicious war where the good and bad are hard to distinguish. He is soon seen as an enemy of both the Assad regime and ISIS both of whom want him dead and they ultimately get their wish. The father who supported his son’s decision realizes with his death that he must take up the struggle. He goes to Syria to follow his son and continue his son’s work. He becomes a major leader in the rebel forces but he is also haunted by the fact that his son’s body is missing and buried by his enemies in an unmarked grave. His final ambition is to find his son’s body and have it buried in the family estate which had been in the family for hundreds of years. It is a remarkable story and while many are not enthusiastic about jihadi thinking you will come a long way to understanding the thinking and context from which it arises at least in this case.