When an old airport janitor finds a captain's hat in the trash, he gets pulled into the lives of children in his poor neighborhood. He weaves imaginary stories of his world adventures to offer hope in the face of their harsh reality.
Abu Raed is an old airport janitor who has always yearned of seeing the world but has never been able to afford to travel. One day a group of children in his poor neighborhood assume he is a pilot and beg him to share stories of the world outside of Amman, Jordan. Through imaginary tales a friendship forms and he finds the grim realities of the children's home life. He takes it upon himself to make a difference.Written by
Jordan's official selection for the 81st Academy Awards (2009). In the category, Best Foreign Language film. See more »
It would be unlikely that a pilot of Noor's age (early thirties) would have acquired enough seniority to be a pilot or co-pilot of the wide bodied aircraft Royal Jordanian use to fly to New York. See more »
a few steps from greatness
I had the privilege of seeing Captain Abu Raed at Ohio State (Matalqa's alma mater) with the director present. It was moving to hear the stories of the children actors and their struggles thus far in life. Matalqa also commented about how religion and terror and anything else you usually associate with the middle east is absent in this movie, which is one of the first reactions I got by the end of the movie. It's nice to see a movie not trying to plug in some political statement where it's not needed.
Captain Abu Raed had a great premise, with an aging janitor pretending to be a pilot and telling neighborhood kids about his "grand adventures." The cinematography was wonderful, and the music added emotional depth. The acting was convincing overall, with the leads impressively not being too impressive (they acted like ordinary people). My biggest complaint is the pacing. It felt like there were two halves of the movie that were completely different from each other, like the second half was almost a sequel to the first. This gave the movie a somewhat uneven feeling, but overall I'd say it didn't substantially take away from the finished product. There were some subplots that I would've liked further developed, but that would probably have added to the unevenness.
Overall, a good first film, maybe a few steps from greatness, and I look forward to Amin Matalqa's future endeavors.
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