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Directed by Waad Al-Khateab, Edward Watts

United Kingdom, Syria 2019 95 mins. In Arabic with English subtitles

For most of the 21st Century, Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad’s brutal regime has violently cracked down on dissidents by shelling entire neighborhoods, with formerly beautiful cities like Aleppo undergoing a massive and rapid change, and military bombardment reducing entire swaths to rubble and killing scores of civilians. Waad Al-Khateab, a young journalist living in Aleppo, documented this situation at length while raising a daughter, Sama. Along with her husband, a doctor who helped found a community hospital regularly besieged by injured and dying people, Al-Khateab navigates this world turned upside down with a mix of rage, wonder, and humility—the family undergoing personal joys and sorrows in the midst of the wider violence. Winner of Best Documentary awards at both the Cannes Film Festival and SXSW Film Festival. “Simple in concept and shattering in execution, blending hard-headed reportage with unguarded personal testimony, it’s you-are-there cinema of the most literal order.”—Guy Lodge, Variety. “What separates For Sama from the plethora of documentaries about Syria is that it is a brilliant analysis of why people decide to stay in war zones, and thus could apply anywhere around the world.”—Kareem Aftab, Cineuropa.

Appears in: Weekend Engagements