Documentary Special Presentation

The Cave (Syria)

Oscar-nominated Feras Fayyad’s (Last Men in Aleppo) essential film tells the harrowing story of an underground Syrian hospital and its extraordinary staff.

The title of this film is The Cave. We have added its country of production in brackets to avoid confusion as there are two films called The Cave in the festival this year.

The final runtime is confirmed as 107min, not 95min as previously advertised.

Dir Feras Fayyad
Prod Kirstine Barfod, Sigrid Dyekjær
Scr Feras Fayyad, Alisar Hasan
UK Distribution Dogwoof
With English subtitles

The forces of the Syrian government besieged the suburb of Ghouta, on the outskirts of Damascus, between 2012 and 2018. Its inhabitants were submitted to unspeakable chemical attacks and bombardments. The Cave is the name of one of the secret subterranean hospitals that provided medical care to the trapped population. Led by Dr Amani – a tirelessly resilient 30-year-old paediatrician who was forced to end her studies due to the war – the courageous and mostly female hospital staff worked relentlessly, coping with low stocks of medicine and little food to care for the brutalised victims flooding in via tunnels and hidden passages. The film charts the daily horrors as life continues inside the hospital; from the charming Dr Alaa who operates to classical music, to Samaher, the unofficial chef who learned to cook in between bombing raids and who tries valiantly to retain her sense of humour. Feras Fayyad crafts an urgent and poignant testimony of the humanity of the hospital staff, who risk their lives to maintain the health and hopes of the people they treat. But the film is also a call to action – a demand for a response to this intolerable humanitarian crisis.

Laure Bonville

Additional information

This is a 18+ screening.