Sakhnin is a city located in Israel that has a mostly Arab population. In 2003, the city's soccer team Bnei Sakhnin made it to the top division of Israel's soccer league. Christopher Browne's After the Cup follows the team through a tumultuous season as they fight to avoid regulation, but more importantly show that a mixed team of Arabs and Jews can come together and achieve success.
It's not the most cinematic documentary I've seen. Much of it feels like a standard news report. We get snippets of interviews from various subjects interspered with game action. There's a few glimpses of the players home lives, but never enough to reall get inside the individual personalities on the team. The only player that really stands out is Abban Suan who has a rocky season as the team captain. The film would've been better with a more personal focus on the players.
The game footage is well shot and one of the better aspects of the film. The directer does a great job of shooting from down on the field and making it easy to understand what's going on. There's a definite "you are there" quality to the game action that really adds alot to the experience. The director also uses footage of fans watching the games, living and dying with each shot on goal.
The film has higher stakes than your average sports film. During the difficult season, Sakhnin goes on a losing streak and falls to the bottom of the standings, risking being relegated to a lower division. But the battle isn't just about relegation, it's also to show that Arab citizens in Israel can feel like they belong in their country and that a Arabs and Jews can put aside their differences and achieve something great. This added level of interest elevates the film past some of its flaws and makes it a memorable viewing experience.