Filmmakers Adil & Bilall (BAD BOYS FOR LIFE) will direct REBEL, an immensely powerful and nuanced portrayal of a family torn apart over a little Muslim boy’s future in the tradition of Incendies and A PROPHET.
When Kamal resolves to change his life for the better, he leaves Belgium to help war victims in Syria. But, having arrived, he is forced to join a militia and is left stranded in Raqqa. Back home, his younger brother Nassim quickly becomes easy prey for radical recruiters, who promise to reunite him with his brother. Their mother, Leila, fights to protect the only thing she has left: her youngest son. The film paints a portrait of a time that both filmmakers experienced first-hand: a period that predates the Islamic State, when many Belgians with Moroccan roots set off for Syria. Some of them were enlisted in organisations upon arriving, and were radicalised, as was the case for some of the two directors' loved ones – it is precisely this experience that is translated through Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah's cameras. "We wanted to show just how romantic and heroic jihad can seem at first glance, and how religion is weaponised."