When thinking about festival openers, “The Swimmers” departs so much from Arab Film Festival’s opening film, “The Blue Caftan.”

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Maryam Touzani’s cinematic love triangle between a dying woman, her closeted tailor husband, and his assistant is achingly intimate.

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She aptly set up the AFF’s own LGBTQ focus this year, opening up the festival to the many complexities that come with queer romance.

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“The Swimmers,” on the other hand, is more visibly Hollywood-esque.

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For “The Swimmers,” Sally El-Hosaini borrows the uplifting story of the Mardini sisters and irons out any kinks in their lives into a straightforward timeline.

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For those unfamiliar with the story of the Mardini sisters, “The Swimmers” baits its viewers into believing that the feature will just be joyful.

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While El Hosaini’s efforts are admirable, she goes one step too far in her plea for empathy.

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All in all, “The Swimmers” goes extraordinary lengths to show the humanity of the superhuman – of refugees and athletes, or in this case, the two in one.

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