Deep in the credits for the documentary “Of Fathers and Sons” comes a startling notation—a mention of the firm that supplied kidnapping and ransom insurance. That’s an indication of just how dangerous the project was for director Talal Derki, who risked his life to get inside a radical Islamist family in northwestern Syria.
Derki posed as a filmmaker sympathetic to jihadi ideology to gain the trust of Abu Osama, one of the founders of Al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda. He spent two and a half years living in close quarters with Osama and his brood of children, including 13-year-old Osama and his brother, 12-year-old Ayman.
The picture he paints is a disturbing and paradoxical one. Although Osama clearly loves his young sons—roughly eight of them populate the film—he loves the idea of establishing an Islamic caliphate more.
“He’s ready to sacrifice them,” Derki notes mournfully. To prepare young Osama and Ayman for jihad, he dispatches them to a training camp where the boys and fellow campers sport camouflage fatigues and black ski masks.
Read the story at Deadline.
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