The Cave | Denver Film Society | Feras Fayyad | Syria

The Cave

Feras Fayyad

ArabicEnglish SubtitlesSyria201995 min


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In Eastern Ghouta—a rebel stronghold on the outskirts of Damascus, Syria—bombs from Russian fighter planes fall steadily; simply moving from one place to another requires a terrifying leap of faith for area residents. One of the few operating medical facilities is a subterranean hospital connected by a series of tunnels known as The Cave.

This tense documentary follows some of its employees as they go about their work under such harrowing circumstances. Dr. Amani, a young pediatrician who serves as the hospital director, appears perpetually exhausted and despairing in the face of both constant violence and the chauvinistic attitudes of patriarchal society—and yet she somehow remains tirelessly dedicated to her patients. The chain-smoking Dr. Salim entreats his surgical patients to listen to the classical music he plays on his smartphone in lieu of any anesthesia to administer to them. And smiling nurse Samaher, who doubles as a cook, endures the staff’s never-ending complaints about her food with good humor. Though the cramped hospital rooms rattle as planes drop ordnance overhead, venturing above ground is hardly safer.

Following his Oscar nomination for Last Men in Aleppo, Feras Fayyad captures the visual and aural claustrophobia of the doctors’ surroundings to pay tribute to their persistence while offering an eloquent examination of the costs of heroism to a people under attack by their own government.

Producer: Kirstine Barfod, Sigrid Dyekjær | Editor: Denniz Göl Bertelsen, Per K. Kirkegaard | Screenwriter: Alisar Hasan, Feras Fayyad
Additional Countries: Denmark, Germany, USA