A candid documentary offering an extraordinary insight into one woman’s experience of war over five years as she gets married and has a child – the eponymous Sama – while the uprising rages in Aleppo, Syria. Normally, this might raise moral qualms about the role and actions of the filmmaker. But in this instance, the filmmaker is the subject herself.
Waad al-Kateab has compiled For Sama from her own first-person video footage in collaboration with Emmy-winning British documentarian Edward Watts. Her intention when she started filming at the age of 26 was to leave her daughter with something to remember her parents by, should the couple be killed as bombs rain down. The result is a unique, occasionally horrifying blend of personal confessional and gritty reportage, which has been acclaimed as “the most harrowingly intimate and arguably the best documentary to date on the Syrian conflict”.