Today at the Chicago International Film Festival: ‘Layla M.’

SHARE Today at the Chicago International Film Festival: ‘Layla M.’

Nora El Koussour as the title character in “Layla M.”

The Chicago International Film Festival continues through Oct. 27 at AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois.Counter-terrorists contract social scientists to predict who might turn into a terrorist. Filmmakers too shed light on this urgent issue. After interviewing de-radicalized women, Dutch filmmaker Mijke de Jong invents 18-year-old Layla (Nora El Koussour), the willful daughter of assimilated Moroccans living in Amsterdam.Layla is a soccer-playing student bound for medical school. She wears a niqab in a video pushing back against Dutch burqa rules, then infuriates her father by wearing the black head-to-toe garment at the dinner table. Online she watches Soldiers of Allah videos. She abruptly marries a jihadist videographer and they move to an unnamed country in the Middle East. But she cannot tolerate her husband and his comrades curtailing her freedom.De Jong — once a radical squatter activist in ‘80s Amsterdam — never reduces Layla’s story to parental rebellion, adolescent romance or political naivete. She knows what she is doing. 2 p.m. Oct. 20

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