Academic journal article Journal of Religion and Film

The Amina Profile

Academic journal article Journal of Religion and Film

The Amina Profile

Article excerpt

(2014)

Directed by Sophie Deraspe

The Amina Profile is a documentary film about an online relationship that blossoms in the midst of a revolution taking place in Syria. Amina Arraf is a Syrian-American and Sandra Bagaria is a Montrealer (Canada) who begin a sexual relationship online that evolves into one encapsulated by uprising, death threats and missing persons. Amina lives in Syria where homosexuality is banned, and she gains international recognition by creating an online blog entitled A Gay Girl in Damascus and providing a voice to an underrepresented and persecuted identity group in the Arab world.

Sandra and Amina's relationship becomes more and more intimate over a six month period so when Amina is abducted, Sandra sets out to find out the fate of her online lover. The documentary interviews people who were affected by Amina, and who searched for her. In the end, the truth is sadder than expected; Amina is not in prison, she is instead an online persona of Tom McMasters, a graduate student from America - a heterosexual male who decided to create a persona of a lesbian Middle Eastern woman struggling for independence amidst a social and religious revolution.

Sandra Bagaria, in an interview with Emily Yoshida for The Verge explained why the Western world was so enthralled with the story of Amina; her story shows "us our weaknesses for cliché. The media, myself, and other people were fooled because it was such a perfect formula. We were like, 'Oh, this seems beautiful, let's follow this story.' It's really about how we in Western countries perceive the Middle East, and stereotypes that we all have that we should totally revise. …

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