Review: Sabaya

SABAYA (2021)

A documentary that is as raw and scary as they come, Sabaya is a front-row seat to the terrible reality of so many women in the Middle East and the heroism of those fighting to help them.

Sabaya is the name that Yazidi women are given my ISIS (also Daesh) who have been abducted from their province in Iraq and turned into sex slaves. Their husbands, brothers, fathers, and many of the individuals around them slaughtered by the group, these women are torn away from anything they’ve ever known and often times end up dead. Hogir Hirori’s film doesn’t track like your typical documentary, instead embedding the cameras with a group of individuals who risk their lives to rescue these women. Sabaya is, in a word, powerful. It is revealing, suspenseful, and terrifying all wrapped into one in a way that leaves viewers speechless. Though the struggles and realities of Middle Eastern people has been on display in other films before, never has one been as intimate as Sabaya. 

We often become numb to the realities of war, especially in the West; “that’s on the other side of the world” or “we already know this.” The truth is that there is are human crises happening throughout the world that need to be highlighted in order to bring attention to them and ultimately drive change. Sabaya is one of the most important films I feel that I have ever seen, not only for exposing the reality of so many Yazidi women, but also for showcasing those who risk everything to save them.

Sabaya is currently playing in limited theaters with expansion expected this week.

Rating: 5/5

Photo from Los Angeles Times

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