For Sama

For Sama

For Sama

BAFTA and Cannes award-winning documentary shot over five years that tells the story of a young woman's journey through love, war and motherhood in Aleppo, Syria.

"An intimate, visceral documentary about the female experience of war, Waad faces an impossible decision: should she flee the city to protect her young daughter’s life? But to leave means abandoning the struggle for freedom for which she has already sacrificed so much." (Cannes Film Festival)

Best Documentary, BAFTAs 2020; Winner of the Golden Eye, 2019 Cannes Film Festival; Winner of the Audience Award (Documentary Feature) and the SXSW Grand Jury Award (Documentary Feature), 2019 SXSW Film Festival; Best Documentary Feature, 2020 BAFTA Awards.
2019Rating: MA15+, Strong themes and injury detail100 minsSyria, UKArabic with English subtitles
DocumentaryWorld CinemaFestival & Independent
Director:
Waad al-KateabEdward Watts (feature debuts)
91%
want to see

Streaming (3 Providers)

Reviews & comments

Flicks

Flicks, Daniel Rutledge

flicks

For Sama is not simply a harrowing document of grotesque atrocities carried out in plain sight. It’s also an achingly beautiful ode to the human spirit and its scenes of joy are another part of modern Syria’s story you can’t really get from short-form news. The age-old question of how much we should be willing to pay for freedom is the central message of this film, and the scenes showcasing that freedom are just as profound as the scenes showcasing its horrific price. Absolutely essential viewing and a testament to the power of film.

5.0

Where on earth can someone in NZ actually watch this?

I found part of this doco on YouTube, and I would love to watch the rest, but cannot find anywhere that will stream it to me in Nz. Happy to pay to rent, stream, or download it, but every site that claims to have it says “it isn’t available from your (Nz) location”. Can the people who wrote this review for a Nz audience either post a link where ppl in Nz...

5.0
New Zealand Listener

New Zealand Listener

press

For Sama places the film-maker and her family at the centre of the drama, but it is also the biography of a city as well as a love story to a daughter, a husband and a country. Undeniably powerful, it achieves the most important aspiration of a documentary maker – it’s compulsory viewing.

5.0
Stuff

Stuff

press

That For Sama exists at all is unlikely. That it is this good, accessible, watchable and relatable to anyone who has ever cared for a child is pretty much a miracle. If For Sama doesn't win the Academy Award next week for Best Documentary, I will be astonished.

5.0
New Zealand Herald

New Zealand Herald

press

The result is a profoundly intimate yet horrifically heartbreaking film—a powerful document of love and injustice that traverses an array of emotions. For Sama is essential viewing.

4.0
Sydney Morning Herald

Sydney Morning Herald

press

[A] dynamic and poignantly personal account of a city's systematic destruction.

4.0
FilmInk

FilmInk

press

...a singular experience... intimate and shattering... a monumentally moving testimony.

The Times

The Times

press

Mostly, though, this is a film, skilfully pulled together by Edward Watts, the British co-director, that unfolds as a guttural cry of despair and an incendiary plea for justice. See it. But don't take popcorn.

5.0
The Guardian

The Guardian

press

Profoundly moving and unignorable, whether as proof of Assad's barbarism, or the unfailing ability of this world - and its most engaged cinema - to break your heart and sear your soul.

5.0
Empire Magazine

Empire Magazine

press

For Sama powerfully mixes the personal and the political to thought-provoking, emotional ends. The result is one of the best documentaries of 2019.

4.0
The New York Times

The New York Times

press

"For Sama" provides a coherent account of a humanitarian crisis from the perspective of the wounded and displaced.

Variety

Variety

press

Simple in concept and shattering in execution, blending hard-headed reportage with unguarded personal testimony, it's you-are-there cinema of the most literal order.

Screen Daily

Screen Daily

press

Hardcore current affairs reporting and intimate personal testimony merge to compelling effect in For Sama, a documentary about one family's experience of the Syrian conflict.

Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood Reporter

press

For Sama provides an intimate look at a young woman who fell in love in a place that was soon headed for complete destruction.

Flicks

Flicks, Daniel Rutledge

flicks

For Sama is not simply a harrowing document of grotesque atrocities carried out in plain sight. It’s also an achingly beautiful ode to the human spirit and its scenes of joy are another part of modern Syria’s story you can’t really get from short-form news. The age-old question of how much we should be willing to pay for freedom is the central message of this film, and the scenes showcasing that freedom are just as profound as the scenes showcasing its horrific price. Absolutely essential viewing and a testament to the power of film.

5.0
New Zealand Listener

New Zealand Listener

press

For Sama places the film-maker and her family at the centre of the drama, but it is also the biography of a city as well as a love story to a daughter, a husband and a country. Undeniably powerful, it achieves the most important aspiration of a documentary maker – it’s compulsory viewing.

5.0
Stuff

Stuff

press

That For Sama exists at all is unlikely. That it is this good, accessible, watchable and relatable to anyone who has ever cared for a child is pretty much a miracle. If For Sama doesn't win the Academy Award next week for Best Documentary, I will be astonished.

5.0
New Zealand Herald

New Zealand Herald

press

The result is a profoundly intimate yet horrifically heartbreaking film—a powerful document of love and injustice that traverses an array of emotions. For Sama is essential viewing.

4.0
Sydney Morning Herald

Sydney Morning Herald

press

[A] dynamic and poignantly personal account of a city's systematic destruction.

4.0
FilmInk

FilmInk

press

...a singular experience... intimate and shattering... a monumentally moving testimony.

The Times

The Times

press

Mostly, though, this is a film, skilfully pulled together by Edward Watts, the British co-director, that unfolds as a guttural cry of despair and an incendiary plea for justice. See it. But don't take popcorn.

5.0
The Guardian

The Guardian

press

Profoundly moving and unignorable, whether as proof of Assad's barbarism, or the unfailing ability of this world - and its most engaged cinema - to break your heart and sear your soul.

5.0
Empire Magazine

Empire Magazine

press

For Sama powerfully mixes the personal and the political to thought-provoking, emotional ends. The result is one of the best documentaries of 2019.

4.0
The New York Times

The New York Times

press

"For Sama" provides a coherent account of a humanitarian crisis from the perspective of the wounded and displaced.

Variety

Variety

press

Simple in concept and shattering in execution, blending hard-headed reportage with unguarded personal testimony, it's you-are-there cinema of the most literal order.

Screen Daily

Screen Daily

press

Hardcore current affairs reporting and intimate personal testimony merge to compelling effect in For Sama, a documentary about one family's experience of the Syrian conflict.

Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood Reporter

press

For Sama provides an intimate look at a young woman who fell in love in a place that was soon headed for complete destruction.

Where on earth can someone in NZ actually watch this?

I found part of this doco on YouTube, and I would love to watch the rest, but cannot find anywhere that will stream it to me in Nz. Happy to pay to rent, stream, or download it, but every site that claims to have it says “it isn’t available from your (Nz) location”. Can the people who wrote this review for a Nz audience either post a link where ppl in...

5.0