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Commander Arian: A Story of Women, War, and Freedom

A powerful portrait of female bravery in warfare, "Commander Arian" is a compelling look at the Women's Protection Units' heroic fight against ISIS in Syria.

Keywords: Women's Protection Units, Commander Arian, Kobane, Syria, ISIS, war, freedom, resilience, women empowerment, Alba Sotorra.


"Commander Arian," a groundbreaking documentary directed by Alba Sotorra and released in 2018, delves into the remarkable story of the Women's Protection Unit (YPJ), a female-led militia combating ISIS in Syria. This film captures the courageous journey of Commander Arian, leading an operation to liberate the city of Kobane from a two-year-long siege. In the current climate where gender roles and women's rights are topics of global conversation, this documentary serves as a compelling testament to women's strength and resilience.


The film offers a revealing insight into the world of female warriors, focusing on Commander Arian's life-risking mission to liberate Kobane, a city under ISIS control for two years. The documentary provides an intimate look at the bravery, dedication, and camaraderie among these women confronting brutalities of war and fighting for their people's freedom.

More Film Analysis



"Commander Arian" employs a participatory approach, capturing the raw realities of war and the female spirit's indomitable strength. The film's in-depth research and exploration of its subject matter is commendable, providing a unique perspective on women's roles in warfare. The presentation style is personal and visceral, making the viewing experience both enlightening and emotionally stirring.

Historical and Factual Context


The Women's Protection Units (YPJ) were formed in 2012 as an all-female armed force during the Syrian Civil War. They have been instrumental in the fight against ISIS, demonstrating women's pivotal role in warfare and society.

Key themes in the film

  • The empowerment of women in unconventional roles
  • The resilience of the human spirit in times of war
  • The fight for freedom against oppressive forces

Film Comparisons

Unlike other war documentaries, "Commander Arian" offers a unique inside look at an all-female fighting force. It provides a fresh perspective on the Syrian conflict, deviating from male-dominated narratives of war.

Noteworthy Moments

A key moment in the documentary is the liberation of Kobane, a testament to the courage and determination of Commander Arian and her troops.


Audiences and critics lauded "Commander Arian" for its raw portrayal of war and women's courageous role in it. The film has been described as "a powerful portrait of bravery" (The Guardian) and "a tribute to female empowerment" (The Independent).


"Commander Arian" is an important documentary that shines a spotlight on women's strength and bravery in the face of extreme adversity. It's a must-watch for anyone interested in gender roles, warfare, or the Syrian conflict.

More film information:


  • Genre: Documentary



  • Commander Arian, a fearless leader of the Women's Protection Units in Syria.



  • Kobane, a city in Syria under siege by ISIS for two years.

Key Questions Raised by the Film

  • How does Commander Arian's story challenge traditional gender roles in warfare?
  • What impact did the Women's Protection Units have on the Syrian conflict and the fight against ISIS?
  • How does the film portray the realities of war?

I wonder what the film would be in another art form

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  1. A famous book, it would be "A Room of One's Own" by Virginia Woolf because it similarly explores women's empowerment and resilience.
  2. A famous song, it would be "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor, reflecting women's strength and determination.
  3. A famous piece of art, it would be "Liberty Leading the People" by Eugène Delacroix, symbolizing freedom and revolution.
  4. A famous celebrity, it would be Malala Yousafzai, a symbol of women's resistance and bravery.
  5. A colour, it would be red, representing courage and determination.
  6. A music style, it would be rock, symbolizing rebellion and resistance.