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Tea with Culture

A podcast about the cultural happenings in the United Arab Emirates presented by Hind Mezaina (The Culturist) and Wael Hattar.


Summer Series - Se a vida é (That's the way life is) by Pet Shop Boys

One of my favourite summer songs by one of my favourite bands. This song and video brings me so much joy.


Come outside and see
a brand new day
The troubles in your mind
will blow away
It's easy to believe
they're here to stay
but you won't find them
standing in your way

Se a vida é I love you
Come outside and feel the morning sun
Se a vida é I love you
Life is much more simple when you're young
Come on, essa vida é
That's the way life is
That's the way life is


Summer Series - Abee Fawq Al Shajara / My Father Is Up the Tree


أبي فوق الشجرة / Abee Fawq Al Shajara (My Father Is Up the Tree) is the quintessential Egyptian summer film from 1968, directed by Hussain Kamal and starring  Abdel Halim Hafez, Nadia Lutfi and Mervat Amin.

The film follows Adel (Abdel Halim Hafez) and his friends on a summer break in Alexandria, Egypt. Whilst on vacation, he attempts to spend some alone time with his girlfriend Amal (Mervat Amin), but being the good, well behaved girl that she is, she keeps refusing. Adel then meets and falls for  Firdaus (Nadia Lutfi), a nightclub belly dancer and a woman older than him. They have an affair together and during this affair, they go to Beirut for a break together where she has a dancing gig. I won't explain what happens in the rest of the film, but it will include heartache and betrayal.

But for now, I'd like you to watch this scene from the film with Adel and Firdaus in Beirut - what is basically a video clip for Abdel Halim's song جانا الهوا / Gana Al Hawa (The Wind Has Come to Us).

The tanned bodies, passionate kisses, dancing, hillside picnics, swimming pools and boat rides, it's all in this clip.



Summer Series - Ice Cream

What is summer without ice cream? 






Summer Series - Mediterraneo by Leonardo Dalessandri

A tribute to the Mediterranean Sea by Leonardo Dalessandri, filmed in Puglia, Italy in the summer of 2011.


Summer Series - Summer by Martynas Kundrotas

Summer by Martynas Kundrotas
feels very contemplative. Stop and smell the sea breeze.


Summer Series - Warm. Summer. Breezes. by Terence Connors


Summer Series - June, July, August


Mark Mazur's videos June, July and August capture the feelings of those months (in the Northern Hemisphere).



Summer Series - Stuff that Sounds of Summer

I am spending my summer in Dubai, mostly indoors, since the temperature gets unbearably hot and humid to be outdoors. I always dream of a summer escape during this time of the year, so for the rest of this month I will share with my Summer Series, summer themed posts ranging from sites and sounds of the summer to places I'd like to visit.

Whether you are stuck in Dubai this summer, or enjoying a summer break elsewhere, hope you will enjoy these posts.

I will start with Stuff that sounds like summer by Fragmento Universo


We set out to help everyone remember those sweet, sleepy and lazy ambient sounds normally associated with summer. We compiled the top summer playlist hits which includes the sound of water balloons, ice clinking in a glass of lemonade, the blades of an electric fan turning, or the ring of a hotel front desk bell.


The Culturist presents... Cruel Summer


Dear readers, I am happy to announce I will be hosting my first film screening event this month.

Cruel Summer is an evening of short film screenings that looks at the dark side of summer - from loss to loneliness, heartbreak to horror. 

The screenings will take place at thejamjar in Alserkal Avenue on Saturday, 13th August at 7.30pm. If you're in town, please join us.

It's free entry and there will be ice cream, summer drinks, music and I will make a short introduction before the screening (also expect a small suprise before the screening, so be there on time). If you've never been, you can access the location map here and here's the event page on Facebook.

I am glad thejamjar was open to this film screening idea and I look forward to sharing the evening with you.

Line up of films:

Ice Cream
Directed by Becky Mountain, 2012
A boy and his unsuccessful attempts at eating ice cream.

I Love Summer
Directed by Kaiyu Chang, 2014
A story about a man and his girlfriend on a hot summer day. The only thing hotter than the weather is her temper.

Directed by Kirsten Lepore, 2011
Animated on location at a beach, in snow, and underwater, this stop-motion short details a transoceanic conversation between two characters via objects in a bottle.

Last Summer
Directed by Oliver Williams, 2012
The story of a boy and his estranged friend as they journey out into nature for one final day of summer.

The Beach House
Directed by Richard Standen and Tom Stanley, 2011
After the death of his parents, River, the only hearing child in an otherwise entirely deaf family, returns home. The three estranged siblings find themselves compelled to re-connect when they find themselves locked out from their inherited beach house.

The Tent
Directed by Robbie Fatt, 2014
While on a camping trip with friends, a teenager discovers that his tent has the ability to teleport. But soon he discovers that teleportation isn't the only thing the tent can do.

Directed by Richard Hickey, 2013
This is the story of a young boy growing up in the suburbs of Chicago. He spent his vacations in Quetico Provincial Park, up on the border of Minnesota and Canada. But he won't be going back any day soon, not after what happened to a girl called Francis Brandywine.

Dead Man's Lake
Directed by Ben Franklin, 2012
When three  campers visit a private lakeside hideaway for some summer fun, little do they know the horror that awaits them.

Night Swim
Directed by Rod Blackhurst & Bryce James McGuire, 2014
A woman swims in swimming pool at night. But something watches her.
Alone Time
Directed by Rod Blackhurst, 2013
A young woman, stressed by her busy and continually crowded New York City existence spontaneously retreats to a solitary lake deep in the Adirondacks, New York.


I leave you with this song that inspired the theme for this film screening event, Bananarama's Cruel Summer.


Cinema Akil - A Hard Day's Night film screenings in August/September

Here's the line up for the last session of Cinema Akil's A Hard Day's Night film screenings at the Cinema Room in A4 Space at Alserkal Avenue.


3rd, 4th, 5th August 2016 at 7.00pm 

Directed by Sara Blecher
2015 | 105 min | English | South Africa | PG-13 | Drama

In a vibrant and diverse Johannesburg community, 21-year-old Afro-hipster Ayanda has a knack for taking neglected pieces of furniture and “bringing them back to love”. Eight years after her father’s death, she is determined to revive his prized garage business, which is in deep debt and in danger of being sold.

The film crackles with infectious energy and style, capturing a vividly contemporary view of South Africa. Inspired by the possibilities of a modern African aesthetic, Ayanda explores the core theme of how we let go of the things and people we love.

The film has been nominated for 9 African Movie Academy Awards including best film, best director, best lead actor and actress and supporting actor and actress.



10th, 11th, 12th August 2016 at 7.00pm 

Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory
Directed by Mel Stuart
1971 | 100’ | English | UK | G | Comedy, Fantasy, Family

The world is astounded when Willy Wonka, for years a recluse in his factory, announces that five lucky people will be given a tour of the factory, shown all the secrets of his amazing candy, and one will win a lifetime supply of Wonka chocolate.

Nobody wants the prize more than young Charlie, but as his family is so poor that buying even one bar of chocolate is a treat, buying enough bars to find one of the five golden tickets is unlikely in the extreme. Charlie, along with four somewhat odious other children, get the chance of a lifetime and a tour of the factory. Along the way, mild disasters befall each of the odious children, but can Charlie beat the odds and grab the brass ring?

17th, 18th, 19th August 2016 at 7.00pm

Factory Boss
Directed by Wei Zhang
2014 | 102 min | Mandarin | China | PG-13 | Drama

After successfully running a toy factory in Shenzhen for 20 years, Lin Dalin has to face the economic squeeze and competition from cheaper Southeast Asian countries. New orders are scarce, pay is slow, savings are done on safety rules, and workers threaten to revolt. In order to avoid bankruptcy, Lin reluctantly accepts a large but very low profit margin order from a big international client.

Meanwhile Ai Jing, a young journalist, is sent undercover to investigate the working conditions of the factory, one of the many ‘blood and sweat’ factories. When the government announces a minimum wage increase, the risk of a strike looms. Under intense pressure from all sides, Lin Dalin struggles to hold his business together and fulfill the big order.

The confrontation that results will bring the entire industry to the brink of collapse. The film is a riveting exploration of the challenges of the manufacturing industry in China. Winner of Best Actor at the Montreal World Film Festival.


24th, 25th, 26th August 2016 at 7.00pm

The Grapes of Wrath
Directed by John Ford
1940 | 129 min | English | USA | PG | Drama

Adapted from John Steinbeck’s novel, this classic drama shows how the Great Depression affects one American family. Evicted from their Oklahoma farm homes, the Joads head West to seek work, but two die during the journey.

In California, the family’s deterioration continues as they live in poverty in migrant camps. The film won an Academy Award for Best Director and was nominated for Best Picture.


31st August and 1st, 2nd September 2016 at 7.00pm

The Solitary Life of Cranes
Directed by Eva Weber
2008 | 28 min | English | UK | G | Documentary, Short

Part city symphony part visual poem, ‘The Solitary Life of Cranes’ explores the invisible life of a city, its patterns and hidden secrets, seen through the eyes of crane drivers working high above its streets. Within the loose structure of a day, starting with the drivers climbing up at dawn and ending with them coming down after a nightshift, the film observes the city as it awakens with a bustle of activity, through the lull of midday and the manic rush in the evening, until it calms down again deep into the night.

Throughout the film, the drivers share their thoughts and reflections on London and life in general. What emerges is a lyrical mediation about how our existence is shaped through the environment we inhabit, both for the drivers high up in the sky and the people on the ground they are watching.

The Match Factory Girl
Directed by Aki Kaurismäki
1990 | 68 min | Finnish | Finland | PG–13 | Drama

Iris has a dead-end job in a match-factory, lives with her dour and forbidding parents, and her social life is a disaster. But when she is made pregnant after a one-night stand by a man who thought she was a prostitute, she decides that enough is enough and plans her revenge.


- Schedules are subject to change, please check our website for updates.
- Screenings are free, open to the public and are on a first-come-first-seated basis.
- Please note the ratings before bringing children or underage adults to the screenings.