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City of Ghosts (2017)

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A documentary that follows the efforts of "Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently," a handful of anonymous activists who banded together after their homeland was taken over by ISIS in 2014. ... See full summary »


Matthew Heineman
Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 15 wins & 32 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Abdelaziz Alhamza ... Himself (as Aziz)
Mohamad Almusari Mohamad Almusari ... Himself
Hamoud Almousa ... Himself
Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi ... Himself (archive footage)
Naji Jerf Naji Jerf ... Himself (archive footage)
Hassan Hassan ... Himself, Hamoud Almousa's brother
Hussam Hussam ... Himself, founder of RBSS


A documentary that follows the efforts of "Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently," a handful of anonymous activists who banded together after their homeland was taken over by ISIS in 2014. With deeply personal access, this is the story of a brave group of citizen journalists as they face the realities of life undercover, on the run, and in exile, risking their lives to stand up against one of the greatest evils in the world today. Written by Production

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Our words are stronger than their weapons


Documentary | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for disturbing violent content, and for some language | See all certifications »






Release Date:

21 July 2017 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Spökstaden See more »

Filming Locations:

Turkey See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

$128,015, 7 September 2017
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Our Time Projects See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs



See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Amazon paid $2 million for the rights to the film. See more »


Featured in Docventures: Valta ja ISIS (2018) See more »


Broken Wing
Written by Jackson Greenberg, Wasfi Massarani & H. Scott Salinas
Performed by Wasfi Massarani
See more »

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User Reviews

Chilling reminder that evil still thrives in 2017.
22 July 2017 | by eyal philippsbornSee all my reviews

For the briefest of moments, we were certain that the combination of pure evil and military might died in a German bunker at 1945. there are many examples in the 21st century to provide us with clear cut proof that it hasn't. we don't need City of ghosts to be reminded of that but even in the age of full transparency evil can still thrive and probably better than ever before.

City of ghosts centers around a subservient group of ordinary Syrians who found themselves in unordinary times and became journalists who report against the takeover, cleansing and terrorizing of the Syrian city of Raqaa by ISIS. ISIS entered the city on 2013 in the midst of the civil war that still goes on and immediately called the citizens to cooperate or face the consequences. Those highly unsubtle threats were recorded and were broadcast by a group mention before. This groups is known as RBSS (acronym of : Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently). ISIS who's agenda is to show that the newly conquered city is blooming, finds in RBSS a cardinal threat and starts in brutal campaigns that include murdering activists of the organization (even those who fled Syria) and in many cases, murdering the kin. ISIS is not the first organization to launch brutal and senseless murders but is different than any other militia in both there propensity to flaunt it and in their high production value of their brutal videos.

RBSS members are normative citizens and none of the people presented in the film, lodging in undisclosed location in Germany has a death wish. The eminent threat is permeating to their personal life and although they never say it aloud, it brings doubts to their commitment. A doubt any human being can understand

The direction is minimalist and is comprised almost exclusively of the testimony of these activists. No English voice-over is used for background purposes or contemplation. The movie, wisely, leaves the contemplation to the viewer.

The movie is so engrossing that in the few moments that I wasn't transfixed to the screen, I thought that everyone should watch this beautiful (albeit hard to watch) documentary that proves once again that world indifference can lead to unfathomable horror and even in the day of modern communication, we still can't see what's going on in many parts of the globe. But the most important point the movie makes is that history can repeat itself and with ISIS recruiting adults and children with funding and a fake sense of purpose, a Nazi like threat to humanity is not just material for the history channel, it could very well be reported in the evening news

10 out of 10 in my FilmOmeter

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