The year that followed the Paris attacks saw ISIS increasingly become a cinematic trope, particularly with a proliferation of dramas centered around European youths who become surprisingly compelled to join the ranks of the Islamic State in the Middle East. But there were also pics depicting the violence ISIS militants unleash in areas they take over, or simply exploring issues at the roots of contemporary radical Islam. These are five standout titles.

“Layla M” — Dutch director Mijke de Jong’s timely drama is about the radicalization of a young Muslim woman from a Moroccan family in Amsterdam. Layla moves to Syria to fight with ISIS, only to realize she has no place in the new, male-dominated world for which she gave up her former life. Variety’s Scott Tobias called the film a “plausible case study in terror recruitment, linked in no small part to Western policies of discrimination and harassment” before going on to note that Layla is “a fully realized character whose passion has no home in a world dominated by men.”

“Road to Istanbul” — French-Algerian director Rachid Bouchareb tackled a similar topic with his naturalistic drama about a Belgian woman desperately trying to track down her 20-year-old daughter who has run away from home to join the Islamic State in Syria. The tough mom, who makes the trek to the border between Turkey and Syria, is potently played by Belgian actress Astrid Whettnall who is present in almost every frame. The daughter instead, and consequently her motivations for joining ISIS, is largely left offscreen.

“Heaven Will Wait” — In French director Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar’s drama two middle-class French girls are recruited by ISIS, which prompts the police to break into the bedroom of one of them, 17-year-old Sonia, just as she is about to run off to Syria. After being sentenced to virtual house-arrest and forbidden to use the internet or phone, Sonia is still determined that the whole family must be together in Paradise, as she wildly tells her parents. She then undergoes a successful jihadi de-indoctrination process. Variety critic Jay Weissberg wrote that “Heaven” “never rises above a TV issue-of-the-week broadcast.” He rightly predicted that “the film will likely do decent European business given its topicality.” In fact, it played well in France and was widely sold internationally by Gaumont.

“The Dark Wind” — Kurdish director Hussein Hassan’s harrowing drama reconstructs the true story of a Kurdish Yazidi woman who was captured in Iraq, auctioned off into slavery by ISIS, and subsequently rescued by her fiancé in Syria. The Yazidis are a Kurdish religious community considered infidels by ISIS forces who are hardline Sunni Islamists. In 2014, when ISIS captured Northwestern Iraq they destroyed the Yazidi holy grounds and captured thousands of women who were raped and sold into slavery in street markets. This is the first pic dealing with the persecuted Yazidi minority, but what makes it potent is that there is a love story at its core. “Dark Wind” won the top prize at the Dubai International Film Festival in December, after opening the Duhok International Film Festival in Iraqi Kurdistan, and also playing in Busan.

“Clash” — Set entirely inside an overcrowded police truck packed with pro and anti-Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators in 2013 Cairo, “Clash” is not strictly speaking a movie about ISIS. But by forcing a cross-section of post-revolution Egyptian society into co-habitation, the powerful film gets to the roots of some of the dynamics feeding fundamentalist violence in the Arab world. “In a nutshell, fundamentalism feeds off of dictatorship and vice versa. The result is ISIS, Al Qaeda, and their clones; groups that choose to see the world in black and white,” “Clash” director Mohamed Diab noted in a guest column he penned for Variety after the Paris attacks. In his film “Diab subtly works in the fact that all these people participated in the 2011 Revolution, when the heady perfume of change filled the air and, for a brief time, much of the population believed that elections could lead to an equitable democracy where opposite sides of the spectrum succeed in holding a functioning government together,” wrote Jay Weissberg in his Variety review. “At the end, the message is clear: any sense of national unity has disintegrated, and the escalating violence is driving Egypt over the edge into bedlam.” Tom Hanks is a big fan of this film: “If there’s any way you can see ‘Clash’ by Egyptian director Mohamed Diab, you must. You simply must. The film will break your heart, but enlighten all,” he tweeted in July.