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For Sama - the film that shows what it's like to grow up in a warzone

Posted On: 13 Sep 2019   |   Posted By: The Big Issue

As kids we're warned about the creatures under the bed or the bogeyman who's going to get us for an unspecified reason. For some children, the monsters are real.
Naya, three or four years old, shelters in a dark, crowded basement in Aleppo during an air bombardment. The sounds of explosions echo around the room.
“Did you hear the missile?” she is asked. “Yeah, one here. Another there,” she points, then stretches out her arms: “It has teeth this big!”
“You can't understand what they imagine in their heads,” says filmmaker Waad al-Kateab. The 26-year-old journalist lived through the 2016 siege in Aleppo. Dispatches she sent to Channel 4 won her an Emmy and now more than 300 hours of footage she recorded has been edited with fellow director Edward Watts to create For Sama.
Where al-Kateab's film differs from other war documentaries is that during the siege she became a mother. Bombing, violence and massacres contrast with the hope that new life brings, underlining the fragility of it all. The film is half...

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