How are Emirati filmmakers portraying UAE?
UAE has witnessed a lot of talent over the past decade which is pushing the boundaries through stories from real life experiences. There are more bold and daring narratives on various screens around UAE by filmmakers such as the Honey Rain and dust documentary and the Mamsous documentary. There seems to be calls for UAE to be more accommodative as opposed to being judgmental or underestimating other communities as evident in the film A night in a Taxi by Aisha Al Zaabi. Most film makers are portraying UAE as opening up new boundaries and adapting to real life experiences on the screen.
There seems to be a focus on UAE in a different perspective, portraying it in a manner that is more informative and accurate as opposed to existing assumptions about it. Of course there have been comparisons between Disneyland and Dubai which is a wrong perspective. The leisure and developments indicated by the skyscrapers has also been another misconception. However, the film industry is changing this by portraying UAE as a region with real human beings that have common challenges just as the rest of the world. They simply present both the negative and positive sides of UAE.
What are they showing and what stories are they telling?
They are depicting the multi-cultural nature of UAE as well as the sweeping coastline, the stunning desert dunes as well as the unique architecture portraying UAE as a great tourist’s destination. Furthermore, they tell stories of women who have been deprived off their rights through religion and the Arabian men who have immense rights over their spouses. They also tell stories of the challenges of the common UAE man with lower social class and how the world has been made to believe that the people of UAE all live luxurious lives. The rights of children and how their parents are so much domineering, this are the same challenges which women go through with restrictions to have stable jobs or expose their faces.
What do they share in common and how are they different
Most of these films even though they criticize certain aspects of the UAE society, they remain patriotic to the country. They even go a greater extent towards promoting the country’s tourism sector both domestically and globally. This is clear through the various locations where these films are shot and the rich cultures in UAE. Even though girls and women generally go through so much at the hands of their fathers, the film the Choice still shows how a girl is working tirelessly to reconcile with her dad before her death. This is a positive thing that shows the family relationships that exist in UAE and how the locals value it. There are a few differences in that most filmmakers tend to focus on specific areas. Unlike Hollywood where most movies tend to focus on crime and love, the UAE filmmakers have diversified their interests and shows women filmmakers playing an active role to the extent of being film producers.
Between Sea Shadow and city of life which one is a more accurate depiction of UAE?
By looking at the film City of life, as well as the film Sea shadow, it is evident that the ideas within these films will definitely be retold about the UAE over years. It’s however, not the national narrative that can be fitted into a single movie or in a year. It’s nevertheless a process. The country’s story is being developed, every cultural aspect basing on one before and finally a general story that depicts to the world who really the people of UAE are and how UAE is exactly.
The film city of life highlights three critical areas of the UAE society the privileged, ordinary and expatriates depicted as a well off. The film tells the story of Dubai city as opposed to other sections of the society. Clearly, the film city of life shows a bigger part of life in UAE. Nevertheless, the narrative in the city of life is about redemption how the city saves the ambitions as well as the lives of its characters. It presents them with opportunities which they would not have had anywhere else.
The film sea shadow on the other hand is narrative about loss. A modern drama that tells the story of two friends majorly about a personal loss as well as missed opportunities and wrong choices. In a narrow way, the sea shadow film tells a small story about the developments in UAE region. It also shows the daily life of the people within Abu Dhabi though not to a larger extent.