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Director Feras Fayyad returns to his native, Wartorn Syria to follow a dedicated team of female doctors who tirelessly treat casualties in an underground hospital while battling systemic sexism. Shot from 2016 to 2018, The Cave belongs to the top rank of war films. Syrian director Feras Fayyad takes us to a subterranean landscape that feels akin to the post-apocalyptic world of Mad Max (1979). With life too dangerous above ground, survivors create a network of secret tunnels under the city of Ghouta, near Damascus, for an underground hospital maintained by women doctors. In contrast to the many Syrian documentaries made from cellphone footage or shaky cameras, Feras Fayyad takes great care to visualize the landscape and its memorable occupants with artful cinematography. For anyone who feels jaded by Syria coverage, this work stands apart. The heart of the film is Dr. Amani, a young Syrian woman operating in unimaginable conditions with great humor and fortitude. When not tending to ...Written by
Toronto International Film Festival
The Cave was shortlisted for the Documentary Feature Oscar, but director Feras Fayyad was denied a visa to the United States to attend events to promote his film. See more »
The idea of moving underground was simple. As simple as the death lurking on the surface. The cause of that death is clear and simple too. As simple as the urge to survive. As a doctor, I've witnesses so many tragedies, so much suffering. So many lies. It made us search for a way to survive.
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A masterclass in both documentary filmmaking and in humanity.
While the hospital personnel at The Cave learn to differentiate by sound the different types of warplanes flying overhead and their country of origin for survival, it was the heart-wrenching sound of another stretcher rolling into the hospital while making the floor and walls shake with the weight of a human being fighting for his life that I dreaded the most during my time watching the documentary.
As a viewer I was struggling between wondering how much more of the reality presented to me I could take and wanting to reach through the screen and help them. That palpable was their urgency.
It is the unfiltered questions coming out of Dr. Amani's own soul during her moments of most abatement and stress like "Is God really watching?" that fall like a bomb and shake the foundations of her own reality and the morals and practices of the culture around her.
The Cave is a masterclass in both documentary filmmaking and in humanity.
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