Why a 75-year-old German, ex-judge, ex-conservative politician, diplomat, executive and journalist of prestige today, in short, a man of the European establishment, decides to risk the life and the life of his son and to go with him in The ISIS’s territory? This is the question floating in the air at the end of this documentary film by a catalan Matías Basso. On the way to that disturbing question, Jürgen Todenhöfer and his son Frédéric meet with a series of characters from the “other establishment”, the so-called “Islamic State”. It would seem that at the moment it is a failed State, on the verge of passing into the wastebasket of history; But by the end of 2014, when these two men visited Raqqah and Mosul, they encountered a growing State, a disturbing political project that worried everyone. There, in the heart of terror, they had the opportunity to meet with an ISIS judge, something especially interesting for Jürgen. They also met the Mosul police chief and some of his detainees, one of them for going out for a walk with his girlfriend. In the voiceover, Jürgen comments that it is curious to observe what constitutes a “crime” in a regime of this nature.
Another encounter, overwhelming, comes by surprise; The companions of Jürgen and Frédéric suddenly stop at a roundabout on the outskirts of Mosul. From another vehicle arriving in the opposite direction, a group of ISIS special forces emerges. They take a Kurdish prisoner and offer Jürgen to interview him right there. This is one of the hardest moments of the film, which is interrupted by the presence of a dron, probably American, that flies over the area. These lethal devices are a constant threat to the civilian population. They also meet Ahmed, one of the soldiers who took Mosul and who promises that ISIS will conquer Turkey, Europe and America. The more in-depth interview, and perhaps the most difficult to digest for European visitors, is the one they have with Abu Qatada, a compatriot of his own, German to the core and high-ranking member of the propaganda machine of the terrorist group, who warns them that the ISIS is at war with his country and that Europeans, whether Muslim or not, should convert to their particular version of religion or try the sword.
After the trip and while the documentary was mounted in Barcelona, ISIS killed 130 people in Paris. This event became part of the film’s history, and shortly thereafter, Jürgen met in the French capital with Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, a renowned scholar of Islam, who helped him understand his journey and put things into perspective. This exceptional meeting functions as an interesting epilogue for the film.
Inside IS has been broadcast by TV3 in Catalonia, as well as national channels in Germany, Belgium, Norway, Poland, Hong Kong and the Middle East. In Spain and Latin America it is in Vimeo.com.