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Syrian civil war has rightly been getting a good spread of awards recognition

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This documentary about the horrors of the Syrian civil war has rightly been getting a good spread of awards recognition, receiving four Bafta nominations – the most ever for a documentary – as well as an Oscar nod in that category. But frankly, the achievement of its co-director Al-Kateab is so extraordinary that she deserves even greater credit. For those who don’t know: Al-Kateab was a student living in Aleppo as it became a chief battleground in the war, who filmed her experiences over five years, as a nascent journalist, the wife of a doctor running a volunteer hospital, and the mother of a young daughter. The film that emerges from her footage (assembled and edited with her co-director Edward Watts) depicts the effects of war with unparalleled detail and nuance, and leaves you marvelling equally at Al-Kateab’s bravery and self-taught skill. Direction simply doesn’t get more vital than this. (Hugh Montgomery)

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