One of the most vital films you’ll see this month is For Sama, a diary film that charts the bombardment of Aleppo by Assad. It sees a mother not only chronicling the conflict but also making a testament for her daughter, whose birth city is gradually dying around the young child. Assisted by co-director Edward Watts, Syrian self-taught video journalist Waad al-Kateab reconstructs four years of her life – from her support of the civil revolution to the arrival of her daughter and her days as one of the last remaining rebels in Aleppo – in a profoundly stirring documentary that shows the camera’s power to denounce barbarism, crystalize facts, and as proof of the human soul’s defiant nature. The documentary also poses wider, existential questions about parenthood in a heartbreakingly profound manner, one that will stay with you long after the film ends. While this undeniably visceral first-person account of the female experience of conflict is a tough watch, For Sama is a stirring yet hopeful cry of defiance that is essential.
For Sama | Directed by Waad al-Kateab, Edward Watts (Syria, UK 2019). Starts Mar 5.
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