#chicagoGirl ★★★★½

This important documentary examines the recent uprisings in Syria to topple the tyrannic, dynastic regime of Bashar al-Assad. It is told largely from the point of view of Ala'a Basatnah. a 19-year old Chicago student from a Syrian family who, using Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Skype is coordinating several groups of revolutionaries on the ground in Syria. As the film makes plain from copious videos taken in the midst of the strife in country, this is dangerous stuff...both for her correspondents/photographers in Syria and for herself in Chicago (by the end of the film Ala'a is traveling to Syria herself to become more involved.) The action footage, mostly from brave YouTubers and shot amidst explosions and snipering, is hand-held and has an immediacy of truth that is impossible to deny. And yet the regime survives, unlike those of the other Arab Spring uprising countries, due to the Draconian repressive tactics portrayed in this film: a real smoking-gun.

The revolution in Syria is a work in progress, and this timely film ends with no resolution. But the bravery of the participants in this film (some of whom were martyred to the cause) is undeniable. Before watching this I had no particular interest in the seemingly hopeless Syrian situation. But this film affected me and made me care.