While the motivations offered by the women of the PKK are undeniably complicated and nuanced, they are built on belief in the cause. Although Gulîstan, Land of Roses actually features repeated scenes of instruction it is undercut by playfulness, and while discipline is evident the women’s actions feel rebellious: “Every woman left to the mercy of a man is condemned to slavery.”
Director Zaynê Aykol's level of access is remarkable, resulting in a film of bracing intimacy. This is something you probably haven't seen before.
No revolutionary exoticism is to be found in Gulîstan, Land of Roses, which on the contrary explores the daily resolve and militant generosity of women who have dedicated their entire lives to a cause, leaving behind their loved ones and the comfort of an ordinary living. The strength we glimpse in their eyes as they open up in front of the camera about their struggle is more commanding than what the most spectacular battle scene could ever convey.