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La Biennale di Venezia

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The Matchmaker

Out of Competition
Benedetta Argentieri
Fandango (Domenico Procacci, Laura Paolucci)
Running Time:
English, Arabic, German
Benedetta Argentieri, Maria Edgarda Marcucci
Matteo Mossi, Serena Pighi
Gian Luigi Carlone
Riccardo Gruppuso, Lorenzo Picierno


Tooba Gondal is one of the most infamous British jihadists. When she was only 20 years old, she left London to join the Islamic State and gained popularity worldwide as the ISIS matchmaker after allegedly recruiting a dozen Western women to marry ISIS fighters. Between 2014 and 2017, she actively engaged in propaganda on social networks. As soon as Isis started losing on the ground, she disappeared from the internet. Director Benedetta Argentieri found her two years later in a camp in Syria. ISIS lost the war, and she was held captive by the Kurds. Ms. Gondal agreed to an exclusive interview. When she introduces herself, Tooba hints at the stereotypical passive woman who is in love with the wrong man and holds no responsibility for her actions. Her story version plays with the sexist view of women in the jihad, seen as accessories and not as active participants. Is she the friendly, intelligent, and submissive girl we see on camera? Or is she a violent extremist? The interview offers an interesting reflection on the Islamic holy war seen from the point of view of the women who are part of the caliphate, fighters, and executioners themselves.

Director’s Statement

The idea for this film came out of the need to speak of women, and in particular the ones that joined the Islamic State, going beyond the stereotypes that paint them either as victims, if possible of a man, or fanatics who exalt jihad. Thousands of women left the West to go to ISIS in Syria: a momentous choice that says a great deal about our society. Talking about Tooba, in all her complexity, has meant describing the central role of women in the Islamic State—women who have been mothers, wives, recruiters, fighters and a great deal besides. And above all understanding that none of us is just bad or good: the challenge has been to get across the nuances.


PRODUCTION 1: Domenico Procacci, Laura Paolucci – Fandango

Viale Gorizia 19

00198 – Roma, Italia

Tel. +39 0685218111

WORLD SALES: Raffaella Di Giulio – Fandango Sales
Viale Gorizia 19
00198 – Roma, Italia
Tel. +39 0685218111

ITALIAN DISTRIBUTION: Gianluca Pignataro – Fandango Distribuzione
Viale Gorizia 19
00198 – Roma, Italia
Tel. +39 0685218111

PRESS OFFICE: Gloria Zerbinati
Tel. +33 0786800282

Viale Gorizia 19
00198 – Roma, Italia
Mob. +39 3351337630



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Biennale Cinema
Biennale Cinema