The first Jordanian film ever exported to theaters around the world opens in the Detroit area this weekend.
“Captain Abu Raed,” winner of 27 international awards including the 2008 Sundance Film Festival’s World Cinema Audience Award, is now showing at the Maple Art Theatre, 4135 West Maple Rd. in Bloomfield Hills.
Writer-director Amin Matalqa emigrated to the U.S. from Jordan at age 13, studied film at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles and returned to his home country to make his feature directorial debut.
Matalqa grew up dreaming of becoming a filmmaker.
Arab American writer-director of “Captain Abu Raed” Amin Matalqa immigrated to the U.S. at 13 and has lived most of his adult life in Ohio.
The film’s protagonist, Abu Raed (Nadim Sawalha), is a lonely widower who works as a janitor in the Amman airport.
When a group of boys in his downtrodden neighborhood notice the elderly man wearing a pilot’s hat that he found in an airport trashcan, they mistake him for a real pilot and beg him to recount his adventures traveling the world.
Abu Raed resists at first but eventually indulges in daydreams imaginary tales told to the group in a scenic spot overlooking Amman, winning the love and admiration of a growing group of children and inspiring them to believe in their own ambitions.
The plot takes a series of heartbreaking turns, starting when one hardened neighborhood boy, Murad (Hussein Al-Sous), outs Abu Raed, exposing him as a floor-mopping janitor to all the children.
A subplot explores Abu Raed’s unique, intensely innocent friendship with a young female pilot, Nour (Rana Sultan).
An abusive father neighboring Abu Raed and the old man’s frail attempts to help the family round out the heartbreak in the stirring film. Humor peppered in skillfully makes the emotional movie a fun, moving experience.
Visit www.landmarktheatres.com for showtimes.