For Sama

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User review rating: 5 September 11, 2019

A record of the Assad regime war against the people of Aleppo during which Putin sent the Russian air force to assist in the destruction of the city, targeting civilian targets such as homes, schools, and hospitals to break the will of ordinary people who resisted Assad's murderous regime. A young university begins filming in 2011 to document the protests of the Arab Spring against Assad's dictatorship when a young boy is arrested, tortured, and executed for painting graffiti on the wall of a building: "Down with Assad." She meets a young doctor caring for those injured in the protests, falls in love, marries, becomes pregnant, and bears a daughter named Sama, all while her city is being bombed. When their house is bombed they move into the hospital and the bombing campaign intensifies with arrival of Russian military forces. The film documents the humanity & horror of war on civilians over the years 2011-2017 when the city fell & another million refugees fled including Waad al-Kateab, the young film maker, student, wife, mother, her doctor husband, Hamza, & their infant daughter Sama. The film is based on 500 hours of documentary film boiled down to about 95 minutes to capture the essence of what life for ordinary people was like while living in a city under siege. It won Best Documentary at Cannes this summer, receiving a six minute standing ovation after its screening there. I give it 5 stars as a document of human courage & resistance by ordinary people against overwhelming odds.

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