The YPJ (Women‘s Protection Units) is the lesser-known Kurdish women’s army – allied to the YPG (People‘s Protection Units) – fighting in northern and Kurdish Syria. Alba Sotorra’s new film Commander Arian focuses on one of its commanders – Arian Afrin – whom Sotorra follows both at the front line and behind it. When we meet Arian she is in a women’s shelter, recovering from being hit by five bullets inflicted on her one and a half months earlier. Scenes from her recovery period are intertwined with scenes from the front shot the preceding year. First impression: she misses the front, the combat, the comrades, the suffering and the thrill of success. Her thoughts reflect a romantic idea of war, which in reality is often rather both messy, especially in Syria with the many different groups fighting each other (see Francesca Borri’s piece), and boring.
A feminist perspective
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