Captains of Zaatari (2021)

A coming-of-age tale, an underdog story and an urgent humanitarian statement rolled into one, Captains of Zaatari claims a special place among all the recent documentaries about the Syrian crisis, with a melancholic final shot to soothe the soul. Free of talking-head interviews, archival footage and the kind of statistics that can make some docs feel like homework, El Arabi’s debut is ultimately rousing through its fluid, casual specificity, tracing a beautiful friendship that pledges to defy the odds.

Tomris Laffly, Variety

Captains of Zaatari succeeds as a moving drama and a remarkably warm documentary on the power of the human spirit. At one point, our “protagonists” let a group of reporters know that as refugees, they don’t need pity. Instead, they need an opportunity. It’s a rather poignant moment that clarifies what it is to achieve. That would be opportunity and desire.

Norman Gidney, Film Threat

  • Language: Arabic
  • Subtitles: English
  • Distribution: Dogwoof
  • Cinematography: Mahmoud Bashir
  • Editing: Alaa Eldin el Dajani, Simon El Habre, Mennattalah Elshesheni
  • Music: Gil Talmi
  • Sound: Cherif Allam, Rana Eid, Vanessa Kanaan, Florent Lavallée, Mohamed Salah, Marita Sbeih