ISIS uses clips from Hollywood movies for their own propaganda films

Last Updated on July 31, 2021

There's a famous quote from the great French director François Truffaut, where he stated, "I don't think I've really seen an anti-war film. Every film about war ends up being pro-war."

Now, whether that is entirely true or not, it at least remains true that it is extremely difficult to convey the horrors of war through the art of film. In essence, since we as audience members are aware (on some subconscious level) of its artifice, that distance makes it much easier to get into the excitement and adrenaline of what's on screen – with the explosions, fire, and fake blood – that even if the filmmakers want us to be horrified and disgusted, we still can't help but be enraptured. I don't know where I stand on this (the famous opening to SAVING PRIVATE RYAN is pretty harrowing), but there's definitely some truth to it.

Case in point, this story from The Hollywood Reporter, which talks about how ISIS uses clips taken from Hollywood films (or at the very least mimics them) in their newest propaganda films with titles such as HEALING OF THE BELIEVERS' CHEST and SHOOT TO REDEEM YOURSELF 2, with the terrorist group lifting scenes wholesale – or using as inspiration – films such as AMERICAN SNIPER, FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS, and GI JOE: RISE OF COBRA, among others.

Lara Pham, deputy director of the Counter Extremism Project, has analyzed over 1,275 films produced by ISIS media companies, and states, "ISIS fighters are forbidden to watch American movies…which is ironic, since they use these images to attract people to their cause."

Indeed, the use of Hollywood clips and techniques have been defining traits of many of the ISIS propoganda pieces, which are then shared widely on  YouTube and social media. And since they are supposedly forbidden to watch these movies, these clips and scenes all come from either bootleg DVDs or torrenting off the internet. 

Pham adds, gravely, "I haven't found anything suggesting Hollywood is aware of this, but I'm sure plenty of individuals would be concerned".

Source: YouTube

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