Finally, I see ‘Captain Abu Raed’

Amin Matalqa and Natasha Tynes It was three years ago when I was introduced to the work of Amin Matalqa. It happened when I found a couple of his short movies on the web. I then posted them on my blog. He contacted me and thanked me for highlighting his movies on my site. We have remained in touch since then. A year or so later, he shared with me the first draft of his screenplay for the movie Captain Abu Raed. I felt so privileged because I knew Amin was headed for success. I was not mistaken. His movie has won a number of international awards so far, including one from the prestigious Sundance Film Festival.

A few days ago, I finally got a chance to see Captain Abu Raed at a special screening in DC. The movie was beautiful, managing to portray Jordan in a wonderful light. I especially loved how clearly the movie showed the divide between West Amman and East Amman. I also enjoyed seeing familiar sights in Jordan, like downtown and Queen Alia airport. Nadim Sawalha, who played the role of Abu Raed, was phenomenal. Watching him interact with others on the screen I got this feeling of déjà vu, like I knew him in a previous life. Perhaps it was because his is acting was very real, very Jordanian. The young boy who played Murad also gave a stellar performance. I highly recommend this movie, especially for those who are not familiar with Jordan.

Bravo Amin! We are all so proud of you. The movie will be playing in the US, Europe and the Middle East. There are more details on the movie’s website. I also really enjoyed meeting the film’s producer, Emmy-award winner David Pritchard. He was extremely down to earth and very supportive of Amin and his work. During the Q & A that followed the movie, Pritchard told the audience he was sure that the film would receive either an Academy Award nomination or one for a Golden Globe or both. Why not?

Here, in this picture of Amin and I that Jeff took using his cellphone, there is a firetruck, which arrived at the venue (the Goethe Institute) in response to a fire alarm before the screening. The audience stayed outside for a bit before the movie started until that situation cleared. The wait was a great way to catch up with Amin after all these years and congratulate him in person.


  1. Far3oun May 24, 2008 at 10:47 am

    had I not scene the film I would have believed you. Captain Abu Raed is very unexceptional. And considering the millions of dollars poured into making it and into flying people to Sundance to vote for it, I consider it a national catastrophe, especially when you compate it to Massad’s almost zero budget film Recycle that won a more prestigious award at the Sundance. Anytime the government got involved in the arts in jordan, nothing but crap was produced, or at best an incredibly very very expensive show of the ordinary, just like Jerash Festival.

  2. murad May 24, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    This guy who has “scene” the film is totally misguided as well as misinformed.

    It’s too bad you make statement like that without knowing anything that you are talking about.

    The Government did not add any money to the film’s budget.

    The Government did not fly people out there to Utah vote. 2008 Sundance was a good year for Jordan.

    The Audience Award is a great award to win, it shows that people liked the film… out the thousands of people that went Sundance the few Jordanians could not have influenced it enough to win.

    Why do Jordanians always have to poo poo anything that could be good for them? Having a film that has been winning award after award representing Jordanian cinema is a great thing for a country that has never really exposed the world to it’s voice.

    Even if you didn’t like the film be proud that a product came out of your country and has been invited to so many film festivals and continues to win awards.

  3. XXX May 24, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    >>> Why do Jordanians always have to poo poo anything that could be good for them?

    what a pretentious thing to say. do you think the world revolves around you? we happen to be very proud of Mahmoud Massad’s success story. Massad is good for us and he is a role model in a country that is desperately in need for good role models, people who work hard for their success and they deserve it and they deserve our respect. not a guy like Amin who started pissing allover everyone the moment felt he was important. there are so many jordanian filmmakers we admire. they are good for jordan. so just deal with the fact captain abu raed is the most expensive ordinary film ever produced.

  4. 2themuse9 May 28, 2008 at 12:59 am

    The film sounds very good, maybe touching. We’d like to see it and hope to eventually. Thanks for calling our attention to it.

  5. Philip June 8, 2008 at 4:42 am

    I was living in Asherfiya when they where filming there and had a chance to go on set and meet several of those working on the production. I’m looking for to seeing this movie eventually.


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