The scale of the ruin inflicted by the Islamic State upon the Middle East is too large to truly understand from the other side of the world. Western reporting of Daesh devastation tends to single out individual images and moments, or obfuscate IS’ entirety into a broad, terroristic threat against our ‘way of life.’
The Dark Wind offers a different perspective. Iraqi filmmaker Hussein Hassan Ali tells the story of IS’s impact on the Yazidi community, a Kurdish group targeted for genocide in 2014. In the great cinematic tradition of wartime romance, the film centres upon a recently-engaged couple Reko and Pero (Rekish Shahbaz and Dimen Zandi), separated after Reko’s would-be wife Pero is captured by IS soldiers and trafficked.
The two are eventually reunited, and relegated to a refugee camp, but Pero’s ordeal continues psychologically and physically – when she learns she is pregnant. The resultant intolerance from her family and the wider community gives some indication as to how IS has taken root in the Middle East (though Yazidis have responded angrily to Hassan’s depiction of their community). There’s an unmistakable familiarity to this storyline, and the lack of real insight into Pero’s interior experience is a frustrating omission.