Captain Abu Raed

Director: Amin Matalqa
Screenwriters: Amin Matalqa

Institute History


The first independent film to come out of Jordan, Captain Abu Raed will be remembered for more than its historical significance. It is also a beautiful, life-affirming account of the power of storytelling and an ode to the ordinary people we meet along life’s path who change our destiny.

Abu Raed is an old airport janitor who has always dreamed of seeing the world, but he has only experienced it vicariously through books and brief encounters with travelers at the airport. In his poor neighborhood, Abu Raed befriends a group of children who show up at his door one morning wanting to hear about his adventures around the world. Because he sports a discarded captain’s hat, they all think he was an airline pilot. As their relationships deepen, Abu Raed discovers the grim realities of their lives and tries to make a difference.

With Jordan as a backdrop, the film glows rich in hue and texture, and director Amin Matalqa is an expert at drafting a wide range of human characters to fill the screen. For Abu Raed, dreaming of a different life is a magical thing, but taking action and helping others, no matter what the risk, may be the greatest personal gift of all.

— John Cooper

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards

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