SYRIA: A painful documentary infused with the occasional breath of poetry and beauty from Aleppo.
Dieter Wieczorek
Dieter Wieczorek
Wieczorek is a film critic and regular contributor to Modern Times Review.
Published date: May 30, 2019

A documentary usually addresses a worldwide audience, but in rare cases, it can be simply a letter written to one specific person. Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts decided to choose the second option as the form for their work. Waad al-Kateab’s commentaries are all addressed to her newborn daughter Sama, who is, of course, also a symbol of the next generation and to a future in their country. Simultaneously, For Sama lets everyone know of the reality behind the curtain of official media information: continual attacks on Aleppo, eventually leading to the total destruction of parts of the city. On a personal level, the question of responsibility, also of guilt, is evoked concerning Waad al-Kateab’s decision to stay at the side of her husband, one of the last doctors and surgeons to still resist and work.


The film is generally chronological but also integrates flashbacks from past years, moments still characterized by hope and excitement for the future. The sharp contrasts between the different time periods let the spectator perceive in just how short a time …

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