FOR SAMA is both an intimate and epic journey into the female experience of war.
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 71 wins & 47 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Waad Al-Kateab ... Self
Hamza Al-Khateab Hamza Al-Khateab ... Self
Sama Al-Khateab Sama Al-Khateab ... Self
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Storyline

FOR SAMA is both an intimate and epic journey into the female experience of war. A love letter from a young mother to her daughter, the film tells the story of Waad al-Kateab's life through five years of the uprising in Aleppo, Syria as she falls in love, gets married and gives birth to Sama, all while cataclysmic conflict rises around her. Her camera captures incredible stories of loss, laughter and survival as Waad wrestles with an impossible choice - whether or not to flee the city to protect her daughter's life, when leaving means abandoning the struggle for freedom for which she has already sacrificed so much. The film is the first feature documentary by Emmy award-winning filmmakers Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Resistance. Love.

Genres:

Documentary | War

Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The filming covers five years, between the start of protests against the government of Syria in 2012, and 2017. See more »

Quotes

Waad Al-Khateab: Sama. You're the most beautiful thing in our life. But what a life I've brought you into. You didn't choose this. Will you ever forgive me?
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Connections

Featured in ITV Evening News: Episode dated 13 January 2020 (2020) See more »

Soundtracks

Crazy
Written by Willie Nelson
Performed by Julio Iglesias and Dave Koz (saxophone)
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User Reviews

 
Truly outstanding. Both heartbreaking AND heartwarming.
27 October 2019 | by markgormanSee all my reviews

If you are looking for gratuitous expositions of the Syrian war this isn't for you.

If however, you are looking for an in-depth and long-term study of how human beings driven by principle and humanity behave with integrity, in an absolute hell-hole that is East Aleppo, then it is.

It's a heart-wrenching (but actually also heart-warming) exploration of what makes human beings, on the right side of the fence, great.

It's set throughout the siege of Aleppo and follows the story of Waad Al-Khateab her daughter Sama and her husband (a doctor/surgeon/activist who runs an unofficial hospital) Hamza whom she meets, marries and has the aforementioned child, Sama, with during the documentary.

Waad films the proceedings, but the end product is a collaboration with co-director Edward Watts (who has several ISIS-based, and award winning, TV documentaries on his CV). Both deserve immense credit.

It's essentially a love letter to Waad and Hamsa's daughter, as Waad narrates her story of the battle to her daughter whilst showcasing the incredible humanitarian work of her fearless husband in conditions that are beyond credible.

ISIS targeted the hospitals of Aleppo (a HUGE city of 4.6 million inhabitants), systematically blowing them up and sending them underground into what look like unsanitary conditions but somehow seem to function throughout the siege. They are constantly bombed and on many occasions makeshift operating theatres become awash with blood.

The scenes of devastation that slowly unfold in the last few weeks of Aleppo's intolerable siege are quite horrendous. We are talking about a blitz here - and the city becomes a shell, very reminiscent of both London and Dresden in WWII.

And yet, life goes on. Despite the torture, and the many deaths that we graphically witness, there is a strong sense of defiance and just getting on with it. (Keep Calm and Carry On.)

One scene, in particular, when we witness the birth of a, perhaps, still born baby is so deeply distressing that you will never forget the images. It's mind-blowing.

This is a (very warped) joy of a film.

It's not blessed with any frills AT ALL. No music, no SFX, nothing. Just a story that is devoid of schmaltz or emotional manipulation. It just says what it sees. It places not blame. It vilifies nobody.

But what emerges is a heroic culture that everyone should see.

Expect success in the next awards season.


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Details

Country:

UK | Syria | USA

Language:

Arabic | English

Release Date:

26 July 2019 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

For Sama See more »

Filming Locations:

Aleppo, Syria See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,350, 28 July 2019

Gross USA:

$43,796

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,397,546
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.20:1
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