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Cannes 2019: Special Screening Film Review

A film category that best reflects the environment selected by the director and production crew, Special Screening often reveals heartfelt documentaries like that of For Sama in this year’s edition.

Directed by Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts, the film focuses on the daily lives of women in war via a very real and authentic documentary.

For Sama follows the actual story of Syrian director Waad al-Kateab who goes through life milestones; falling in love, getting married and giving birth to her daughter Sama during the five-year war in Aleppo, Syria. And while her personal life is booming, her city is facing chaos and breakdown.

Both Emmy-award winning directors, document intimate messages al-Kateab records for her daughter, as she fears that war is threatening their lives. It’s a journey from the start of the Syrian protests up until the darker days, and the most heated events of war that forces al-Kateab to flee the country.

“From the beginning, I found myself drawn to capture stories of life and humanity, rather than focus on the death and destruction which filled the news. And as a woman in a conservative part of Aleppo, I was able to access the experiences of women and children in the city, traditionally off limits to men. That allowed me to show the unseen reality of life for ordinary Syrians, trying to live normal lives amid our struggle for freedom,” explained al-Kateab about the film’s vision.

Watch the trailer here.