Sundance Film Review: The Amina Profile

Posted January 24, 2015 in
The Amina Profile
Amina is a woman in the shadows. Photo: The Amina Profile

The Amina Profile
Sundance Film Festival
Director: Sophie Deraspe

The Amina Profile documentary follows Montrealer Sandra Bagaria’s online relationship with Amina Arraf, a lesbian woman from Damascus, Syria, near the onset of the Arab Revolution. Bagaria becomes increasingly infatuated with Amina, who publishes A Gay Girl in Damascus, an online blog that accrues a hearty amount of followers as the heat of anti-authoritarian demonstrations rises in Damascus. When Amina goes missing after she reports to Bagaria that Syrian authorities have been hotly after her, Bagaria awaits her every online message—and once Amina’s cousin, Rania, emails Bagaria to alert her that Amina’s been caught, Bagaria sounds the alarm to try to rescue a woman with whom she’s fallen in love. As Bagaria and a team of transnational feminists, activists and journalists dig deeper, however, Amina’s history becomes suspect once other, tight-knit Syrian activist organizations confirm that they’ve never met her, and amateur investigators track her online presence to the U.S. State of Georgia. Director Sophie Deraspe deftly creates a sense of Bagaria’s fantasies of Amina’s life in Damascus and on the run, which helps punctuate the oncoming surprises in the investigation. Slow pacing mires the film, though, and it often felt like certain subjects were over-discussed or somewhat disorganized to stymie fluid narration from this doc. If you’re unaware of this Internet drama, save the Google searches for once you’ve seen the film—especially to witness the resolution of Bagaria’s feelings for Amina—as its couple of payoffs come from being in the dark about Amina Arraf. –Alexander Ortega

Screening Times:
Time: Sunday, Jan. 25 @ 3 p.m. Venue: Salt Lake City Library Theatre, Salt Lake City
Time: Monday, Jan. 26 @ 3:30 p.m. Venue: Redstone Cinema 1, Park City
Time: Thursday, Jan. 29 @ 3 p.m. Venue: Temple Theatre, Park City
Time: Friday, Jan. 30 @ noon Venue: Egyptian Theatre, Park City