Captains of Za’atari (2021)

Mahmoud and Fawzi have been living in the Za’atari Refugee Camp in Jordan for five years, during which they’re dealt with an uncertain future, which they put out of their minds by playing soccer in the hopes of someday being good enough to have the sport become their future. Yet when one of them gets the opportunity fo freedom, what happens to the other?

Aspire Academy, one of the world’s leading sports academies, picks Mahmoud while Fawzi is left behind due to a technicality. But thanks to the coaches, he’s able to finally join the team and together, the friends will play in the most important game of their life while the refugee camp watches on television and even get to speak. Yet will they ever escape the camp?

Director Ali El Arabi and cinematographer Mahmoud Bashir have crafted a film full of joy in the face of hopelessness, of temporary escape in the midst of hopelessness. This is a gorgeous film, one that even people who don’t play soccer can watch and understand the way playing feels to these two young men.

Captains of Za’atari is available in select theaters and on digital platforms from Utopia.

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