For Sama

For Sama

Waad al-Kateab (2019)

18 Certificate


Our Score
The plight of bombarded Aleppo and its citizens has already been the subject of a fine, Oscar-nominated documentary in Last Men In Aleppo (2017). This powerful, intensely intimate snapshot of life in the besieged Syrian city was filmed over five years by co-director Waad al-Kateab, whose life as an activist, wife and mother of baby Sama unfurls in the midst of relentless, indiscriminate bombing from Syrian and Russian forces. Waad chronicles her student days and her marriage to dedicated medic Hamza, whose makeshift underground hospital provides some of the most emotionally wrenching, jaw-dropping scenes you will ever see in a documentary. Then with the arrival of Sama, the courageous couple's perilous existence adds serious new pressures in their resistance to Assad and his campaign of attrition - the sequence where Waad and Hamza attempt to get back into Syria, with Sama in tow, is as nerve-jangling and suspenseful as any fiction film. It's undoubtedly harrowing and not for the faint-hearted (death and grief are viscerally present) or the jumpy (the bomb blasts are cacophonous and sudden), but Waad's love letter to her daughter is a moving, life-affirming experience that demonstrates humanity can abide in the most desperate of conflicts.


Premiere. Documentary capturing one woman's experiences working in a hospital in a Syrian war zone, while also raising a daughter as well as becoming involved in the uprising against the Assad regime. The film captures her and her husband's efforts to create and run a series of makeshift hospitals in the midst of a bombing campaign by the Russian air force over the course of five years. In Arabic.

Cast & Crew

Waad al-Kateab Waad al-Kateab
Hamza al-Kateab Hamza al-Kateab
Director Waad al-Kateab
Director Edward Watts

Other Information

Language: Arabic +subtitlesColourTheatrical distributor: Republic FilmGuidance: Swearing, images of dead bodiesReleased on: 13 Sep 2019