Last weekend I went to see the Jordanian film Captain Abu Raed. I left the theater in a thoughtful mood. This film is set in Amman, with characters that are there from our everyday lives. If I were to sum it up in one sentence it would be the Jordanian dream. It talks of struggles, passions, lives, living, dying, and so much more.
The movie I think is a strong social commentary on the world around us. By the world I mean Amman. It talks of abuse and child labor, it also talks of societal pressures. It shows us sides of Amman that some people are not exposed to. I heard and was surprised by some of the comments made by audience members that made me think how sheltered and ignorant some of our Ammanis are. The film’s portrayal of East and West Amman, the divide, the lifestyles, the attitudes was very poignant, and to me at least reinforced how we should work to remove those barriers. The portrayals were mostly positive, however some were not and I don’t think we should be ashamed or upset by this. This is our fabric and every thread counts.
The film was funny in parts, and slow in others but the ending was sad and uplifting in one. The messages were many and all positive ones. I’ve heard that some people critiqued the film for not being factually correct, well it is a piece of fiction so it’s OK. And some of the inaccuracies are positive ones that should be presented as messages to the public, like girls and boys playing together in Eastern Amman, why can’t that be our reality?
If there was one thing I would have liked to see more of in the film, that would have been more character development for some of the secondary roles, through some stronger dialogue. But you know this was a film about Abu Raed, and Abu Raed as a character was written well and acted well. In his silence as well as in his lines Nadim Sawalha did a good job.
I do have one thing that ticked me off at the end of the movie and that was the commentary made by audience members as they left. The only comments they had about the movie was who funded it and how they are millionares now. These shallow, naïve comments shocked me and made me think was this the only thing they could take away from the film? Anyways it is not always my place to ask why, but I did want to say something!
I must say it was very hard writing this piece without spoiling the movie. I have much more to say, but go see the movie if you haven’t already, and maybe we can have that discussion offline or via email, without spoiling the movie for others. It is a JD 5 and a couple of hours well spent, if not for the entertainment value then for the support of the local, budding film industry.