You may only know the PKK, the Kurdistan Workers' Party, from news reports and shaky war footage. The on-again, off-again relationship the West has had with Kurds and the PKK is complicated at best. But here is one easy lesson you can learn right now -- in a conservative, patriarchal area of the world, the PKK has always held gender equality as a core belief. There are over 17,000 women who serve in the PKK's ranks, and that's 30% of its fighting force.
These women are the armed guerillas who defend Kurdish territory. They have given their lives over entirely to the military. Director Zaynê Akyol skillfully, almost invisibly, slips into their lives in order to hear them tell their stories in their own voices.
Filming in rural, difficult, conditions, Akyol has managed to highlight the individuals of one all-female brigade with quiet intensity. For an active military unit, they see combat only at a distance from the mountains as their comrades fight ISIS nearby. But by alternating between intimate confessional-style interviews and the plain talk of everyday rigours, Akyol paints a beautiful and complex picture of these women, drawing out their best and most unforgettable qualities.
This is the face of the PKK in the battle against Islamic extremism and it is strong.