Synopsis by Nathan Southern
To be certain, there are few early 21st century social challenges as daunting as living as an Arab in the predominantly Jewish nation of Israel. But such is the situation that around 1.4 million Israeli citizens of Arabic ethnic origin are facing -- continually struggling to maintain their cultural identities despite pressure to conform or blend in. One area in which cultural assertion continues to take place is on the soccer field; Israelis are overwhelmingly passionate about the game, and it's a noteworthy fact that an Arabic league called Bnei Sakhnin (also known as the Sons of Sakhnin United) won the prestigious Israeli Cup in 2004. This victory -- even more than the existence of the team per se -- soon came to represent a potential bridge of peace between Hebrew and Palestinian cultures. As directed by Christopher Browne, the documentary After the Cup: Sons of Sakhnin United observes the Sakhnin team in the season immediately following the pivotal win, amid the realization that this season may be their final one in the public spotlight. Yet the team hardly goes through the season without obstacles: they must grapple with a dearth of funding, vast inexperience, conflict building between the coach and star player, and the sudden onslaught of pressure to transcend overwhelming public expectations. Browne observes the team and its members on the most intimate of levels and spares no detail or insight.
Arab, co-existence, harmony [peace], Israel, Jewish, Middle-East, Palestinian [nationality], soccer, team, teamwork, truce