City of Ghosts | Chicago Reader

City of Ghosts

Amid the carnage of the Syrian civil war, the citizen journalist group Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently provides the outside world with valuable information about the barbarity of Assad and ISIS alike. For this harsh documentary, Matthew Heineman (Cartel Land) gets up close and personal with some of the RBSS members, who live with the daily threat of violent retribution and in some scenes comment from the cloistered security of German or Turkish safe houses. Honoring their heroism is Heineman's primary agenda, though the documentary also includes eye-opening glimpses of the slick media strategy ISIS uses to recruit martyrs from around the globe (one video is a shameless knockoff of Grand Theft Auto). RBSS has been accused of creating pro-ISIS propaganda, which may be the reason Heineman frames his story with footage of RBSS members visiting New York in 2015 to accept an award from the Committee to Protect Journalists. God knows they need protection—no sooner do members arrive at one safe house than an image of the front entrance turns up online.



  • Matthew Heineman


  • Matthew Heineman
  • Alex Gibney
  • Molly Thompson
  • Maiken Baird
  • David Fialkow
  • Elaine Frontain Bryant
  • Stacey Offman
  • Robert Sharenow

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