Hania A.M. Nashef deposited What Does a Nascent Film Movement of Popular Genres Reveal About Emirati Culture? in the group MS Visual Culture on MLA Commons 3 months ago
Despite a lack of a traditional cinema culture, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has recently witnessed an increase in film production. This rise can be attributed to a number of factors, not least of which, is the opening of movie theaters, the establishment of international film festivals and the arrival of film companies. These ventures have helped nurture a nascent industry at its beginnings, promote a cinema culture and led to a rise in the number of Emirati filmmakers. These recent UAE productions are also an attempt at constructing the current Emirati identity, which finds itself at a crossroads between a past that for many needs to be preserved and the future which the young country aspires to be part of. In addition, some of the works, such as the short films produced by Nāyla Al-Khāja, call for social change, highlighting problems faced by this rapidly developing nation. The first section of the article begins with a brief history of Emirati cinema and a discussion on a number of short films and documentaries to highlight the development of film in the UAE, before examining the emergence and prevalence of ‘lighter’ popular genres, namely comedy and horror. These popular genres not only offer glimpses into the culture, but also play a role in defining the current identity.