War is always painful, and women are no exception. However, how do women view war, especially in today’s world where war is no longer as common as it used to be? The film For Sama (2019) with its documentary lens that never leaves the spotlight on reality, helps us to see how women’s perspectives see war—because this film is directly documented by a woman who experienced several years of war in Syria, the Middle East.
Film Review For Sama (2019)
For Sama (2019) is a documentary that tells about the experience of five years of war in Syria which was documented by a civilian, a woman named Waad Al-Khateab. This film is documented by Waad Al-Khateab for his baby daughter, Sama, who was born during difficult war times in Syria—so that Sama doesn’t forget his homeland and what happened during his birth, because in the end, their small family is forced to also fled from Syria to Europe.
Compared to discussing the politics of war, this documentary focuses more on the reality of war that pierces humanity, the experiences of civilians who become victims simply because they hope not to lose their homeland and place of residence.
This film really depicts the story of the Syrian war without any censorship at all: every pain and sadness, the unfortunate and tragic loss, the buildings falling and collapsing, the lives of civilians who died as victims of the war, the sad cries, the eruptions. bombs that do not stop, until the situation is chaotic and panicked. However, on the other hand, For Sama (2019) also does not forget to capture the happy stories that still help them survive in the midst of the Syrian war: the strength of solidarity and solidarity of Syrian civil society in friendship and brotherhood relations, every laugh and smile of those who are still alive. live and can gather together.
Not only documenting the reality of war in general, Waad Al-Khateab directed his camera lens to photograph his personal life as well. How he, personally, experienced ups and downs in war: falling in love, marriage, pregnancy, birth of children, to starting a small family. How her husband’s social-medical service struggles, who is a doctor, dedicating himself to stay and not go to refuge, in order to help injured civilians through the emergency hospital he built. Friends and neighbors. Colleagues who fought together to defend Syria in times of war. Movies For Sama(2019) is a documentary that is unique in the way Waad Al-Khateab narrates and documents all the ups and downs of war in a holistic way, it’s worth watching.
Closer to Waad Al-Khateab
“The sound of our songs was louder than the bombs failing outside.”
—Waad Al-Khateab, in For Sama (2019)
Waad Al-Khateab was still a student when the war broke out in Syria. At that time, he was only 21 years old. He decided to stay and not evacuate. He decided to start documenting what was happening with his camera lens. The documentation continued throughout the war in Syria in 2012-2017.
Waad Al-Khateab is a young woman, of Syrian nationality. During the Syrian war, Waad Al-Khateab fell in love, married, conceived, gave birth and raised a baby girl. An experience that is certainly not easy to pass in the midst of unstable conditions due to bomb eruptions everywhere. However, Waad persevered, with her husband and child. When her husband (Hamza Al-Kateab) who is a doctor by profession is dedicated to helping civilians injured by war, Waad documents what has happened and is happening through the lens of his camera.
“Sa ma. You’re the most beautiful thing in our life. But what a life I’ve brought you into. You didn’t choose this. Will you ever forgive me?”
—Waad Al-Khatea, in For Sama (2019)
For Waad Al-Khateab, the film For Sama (2019) is like a love letter he wrote to his daughter who was born in the midst of war, Sama. In his documentation of the Syrian war and their lives during those five years, he has recorded a total of more than 500 hours of video. He was then compelled to make a film from his personal documentation because he saw that the Syrian media had little to say about what had happened in Aleppo.
In the end, after so many ups and downs during five years of living in war—with no other choice, Waad Al-Khateab and his small family had to flee Syria in 2016. Even so, the film For Sama (2019) is proof of that. how he can never forget the love for his country, will never forget about the war that took the peace of their life there, and hope that one day, they can feel the land of Syria that is safe and peaceful as before.
The figure of Waad Al-Khateab in the film For Sama (2019) represents women who inevitably have to go through a difficult, heavy and painful war. The figure of Waad Al-Khateab represents the women who want to defend their homes, the land they live in, their lives, their families, even when the war hits—the women who try to survive and stay strong in times of war. The figure of Waad Al-Khateab represents women who wonder about humanity, which has been so cruelly damaged and usurped by the brutality of war.