Everyday Activist - For Sama | The Cave (Oscars 2020)

Posted on Thursday, March 19, 2020 at 05:00 PM

For Sama | The Cave (Oscars 2020)

Movie Review by Everyday Activist X CalgaryMovies.com

Both these Oscar nominated films feature women in Syria, doing their best to support the people trying to survive the war. For Sama won a BAFTA for best documentary and is available on YouTube. Waad al-Kateab, the director and star, takes us through years of her life during the Syrian War as a journalist, wife and mother. The Cave from National Geographic sounds like something other than an underground hospital, where Dr. Amani Bellour needs to care for her patients and staff with limited resources.

The oil wars between Russia and Saudia Arabia are playing out amid the COVID-19 outbreak, further putting pressure on the Alberta economy as oil prices drop. In Syria, these two countries use the military force, catching civilians in the crossfire rather than oil economics. As For Sama shows, the Syrian war has gone on for nearly a decade. The continuous bombing, using chemical weapons and targeting hospitals has become progressively worse all over Syria. These circumstances forced Dr. Amani Bellour’s hospital underground.

Normally, hospitals and first aid stations in any country are registered with the UN, so they are to be avoided by the military. Unfortunately, these same coordinates are used to target hospitals and aid stations, not only in Syria, but in the 2013 documentary, No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka, shows that when they registered an aid station it was immediately bombed. To save civilians, the stations deliberately stopped providing coordinates. All three films have graphic violence that people had to live through every single day as well as with the uncertainty if they would make it out alive.

The hardest events for me to watch were the people completely disrespecting Dr. Bellour in The Cave and witnessing a patient who would rather starve herself and her children than take a job, because women aren’t supposed to work. Towards the end of the film, we witness the post traumatic stress setting in as Dr. Bellour makes the difficult decision to leave. Waad and her family escaped, but ended up going back to continuing helping, before leaving Syria, a final time.

Despite the success of White Helmets (Netflix), The Cave, For Sama, The Last Men of Aleppo (Netflix), the Syrian war continues. With COVID-19 dominating the headlines, who knows what other human rights violations will happen. People have nowhere to go to find safety in Syria as borders everywhere close. The hopeful parts of The Cave and For Sama were even with all the death and destruction around them, they did normal things like celebrate birthdays and weddings, which Waad said in an interview, became more important to do to stay grounded.

Calgary Showtimes: For Sama > | The Cave >


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