Synopsis by Jason Buchanan
Inspired by the incredible true-life story of Ralph Klein, director Eran Riklis' Playoff stars Danny Huston as an Israeli basketball coach who's hailed as a national hero after leading his country's team to a big win in the European championships, only to be branded a traitor after agreeing to coach the struggling West-German team. Max (Huston) is a winning coach with eyes on the NBA. After leading Maccabi Tel Aviv into European Champions, his future looks bright. Recognizing the potential for success when presented with the opportunity to put his coaching skills to use for the West-German team, Max - a native German, himself -- accepts the offer. Almost immediately, Max's wife and mother have ceased talking to him, and the Israeli population has turned their backs on him. Upon arriving in Frankfurt in 1981, Max is beset by the press. HIs new players, however, prove less than welcoming. Team captain Thomas (Max Riemelt), in particular, views Max's hiring as a political decision made to help whitewash the country's dark past. Meanwhile, as morale amongst the team begins to drop due in part to Max's decree that they communicate in English, the isolated coach pays a visit to the childhood home his family fled in the early 1940s. There, he meets the new occupants, a Turkish mother named Deniz (Amira Casar) and her defiant teenage daughter (Selen Savas), whose absentee father disappeared after failing to join his family in Germany as promised. Sympathetic, Max begins spending more time with Deniz, and hires a private detective to help track down her husband. But his presence in the neighborhood soon begins to stir up gossip that makes Deniz a pariah among her fellow émigrés. Later, as the team begins to show promise, Max makes a surprising discovery about his father, and Deniz learns the truth about what became of her missing husband.
basketball, coach, Germany, Israeli [nationality]