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For Sama

This documentary tells the story of a journalist (Waad al-Kateab) and her family as they endure 5 years in Aleppo during the Syrian civil war. She and her husband were both student activists whose roles quickly changed once the war started – he a doctor trying to treat victims in sometimes makeshift hospitals, she a journalist documenting the war, and raising a baby daughter during it all. The film is pretty powerful. It is all first-had footage from her video camera, and she captures a range of experiences from the ground as a woman and mother – scenes in hospital emergency rooms, young children who know what cluster bombs are, bombs being dropped, the growing, destruction of the city, the birth of babies. It is fascinating to watch this from the perspective of a new mother who constantly has to make the best decisions for her daughter in the worst of circumstances. The film is as inspiring as it is chilling. Big thumbs up for a film that gets to the heart of the choices we make and the consequences of those choices. (2019; 4.5 Stars).

About Gary Burkholder

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