Tea with Culture

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


Film and TV Viewing Log - July 2015 

Walkabout (Dir: Nicolas Roeg, 1971)
Films directed by Nicolas Roeg 
Walkabout (1971)   ★★★★★
The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)  ★★★★
Bad Timing (1980) ★★★★ 
Nicioas Roeg - It's About Time (David Thompson, 2015, BBC documentary)   ★★★★ 

Films directed by Jacques Demy
Bay of Angels (1963)  ★★★★
Donkey Skin (1970)   ★★★ 

Films directed by Fernand Melgar
The Fortress (2008)  ★★★★
Special Flight (2011) ★★★★ 

Films starring Omar Sharif 
Ṣira' Fī al-Wādī /  Struggle in the Valley (Youssef Chahine, 1954, Egypt) ★★★★
Ghaltet Habibi / My Darling's Mistake (Al Sayed Badair 1958, Egypt) ★★★
Law'at Hub / Agony of Love (Salah Abu Seif, 1960, Egypt) ★★★
Hubi al Waheed / My Only Love (Kamal Al Sheikh, 1960, Egypt)  ★★★★ 

Films starring Christopher Lee 
Dracula (Terence Fisher 1958)   ★★★              
Mummy  (Terence Fisher, 1959) ★★★ 
The Skull (Freddie Francis, 1965) ★★★ 

Documentaries featuring Gore Vidal 
Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia (Nicholas Wrathall, 2013) ★★★★
Best of Enemies (Morgan Neville, Robert Gordon, 2015) ★★★★

Four Star Films ★★★★  
I Don't Want to be a Man (Ersnst Lubitsch, 1918)  
Frankenstein (James Whale, 1931)  
Of Human Bondage (John Cromwell, 1934)   
La signora di tutti / Everybody's Woman  (Max Ophüls, 1934, Italy)   
A Bucket of Blood (Roger Corman, 1959)   
Fruit of Paradise (Věra Chytilová, 1970)  
Mikey and Nicky (Elaine May, 1976)  
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (Steven Spielberg, 1982)  
Tony Takitani (Jun Ichikawa, 2004)  
Another Year (Mike Leigh, 2010)  
Berberian Sound Studio (Peter Strickland, 2013)   
Goodbye to Language (Jean-Luc Godard, 2014) 
The Guest (Adam Wingard, 2014) 
Advantageous (Jennifer Phang, 2015) 

Three Star Films  ★★★
Too Much Johnson (Orson Welles, 1938)  
It Happened Tomorrow (René Clair, 1944)  
D.O.A (Rudolph Maté, 1950)  
Dementia (John Parker, 1955)  
Les fiancés du pont Mac Donald ou Méfiez-vous des lunettes noires (Agnès Varda, 1961)  
The Gypsy Moths (John Frankenheimer, 1969)  
Alice, Sweet Alice ( Alfred Sole, 1976) 
The Skywalk is Gone (Tsai Ming-liang, 2002, Taiwan)  
Fireworks Wednesday (Asghar Farhadi, 2006, Iran)  
The Wave (Dennis Gansel, 2008, Germany) 
The Nine Muses (John Akomfrah, 2010) 
Appropriate Behaviour (Desiree Akhavan, 2014)  
Finding Fela (Alex Gibney, 2014)  
What Happened, Miss Simone?  (Liz Garbus, 2015)  

Two Star Film ★★
They Came Together (David Wain, 2014)    

Humans, Episodes 4-7 (Channel 4, 2015) ★★★★    
True Detective, Season 2, Episodes 3-6 (2015)  ★

Links to previous film and TV viewing log:
January 2015 
February 2015   
March 2015  
April 2015 
May 2015 
June 2015 


Been on hiatus 


The past month has been an extremely difficult one. My father passed away on 3rd July and my family and I have been coping with the loss and grief.  So I hope you understand why the lack of updates here. 

I am trying to slowly get back to the real world, but finding it difficult emotionally. Apart from spending time with my family, I've also been losing myself by watching (even more) films - a way to escape or cope with the pain.

Expect updates on this blog soon, maybe not as frequent, but I hope things will get back to normal soon. 



Film and TV Viewing Log - June 2015 

Tokyo Story (Dir: Yasujirō Ozu, 1953)   

Films directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda 
Still Walking (2008, Japan)  ★★★★
Like Father, Like Son (2014, Japan) ★★★★

Films directed by Pere Portabella 
Nocturno 29  (1968) ★★★★★
Vampir (1970) ★★★★ 

Films starring Elisabeth Moss 

Listen Up Philip (Alex Ross Perry, 2014) ★★★★★
The One I Love (Charlie McDowell, 2014) ★★★★


Five Star Films  ★★★★

Othello (Orson Welles, 1952)   

Tokyo Story (Yasujirō Ozu, 1953, Japan) 

The Apartment (Billy Wilder, 1960)  

Al Ard / The Land (Youssef Chahine, 1969, Egypt) 

A New Leaf (Elaine May, 1971) 

Harold and Maude (Hal Ashby, 1971)

Enemy (Denis Villeneuve, 2014)  

Inherent Vice (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2014) 


Four Star Films ★★★★

Sunrise: Song of Two Humans (F. W. Murnau, 1927) 

Cross-Roads (John Fitchen, 1955)  

Rocco and his Brothers (Luchino Visconti, 1960, Italy) 

Very Nice, Very Nice (Arthur Lipsett, 1961) 

Cul-de-Sac (Roman Polanski, 1966)  

The Round Up (Miklós Jancsó, 1966, Hungary)

Grey Gardens ( Albert Maysles, Muffie Meyer, Ellen Hovde, David Maysles, 1975) 

Vagabond (Agnès Varda , 1985, France)

Cinemania (Stephen KijakAngela Christlieb, 2002) 

Primer (Shane Carruth, 2004)

Derek Jarman: Life as Art (Andy Kimpton-Nye 2004) 

The Wayward Cloud (Tsai Ming-liang, 2005, Taiwan)

Coming Attractions (Peter Tscherkassky, 2010) 

Volcano (Rúnar Rúnarsson, 2011, Iceland)

Dawn (Rose McGowan, 2014)  [I recently wrote about it here.] 

Altman (Ron Mann, 2014) 

Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon (Mark Hartley, 2014)

Station to Station (Doug Aitken, 2015)


Three Star Films  ★★★

Night Tide (Chris Harrington, 1961)

Ladies and Gentlemen...Mr Cohen (Donald Brittain, Don Owen, 1965) 

Al-Mutamarridun / The Rebels (Tawfiq Saleh, 1966, Egypt) 

Punishment Park (Peter Watkins, 1971)

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (Bharat Narulli, 2008)

Our Beloved Month of August (Miguel Gomes, 2008) 

Mammoth (Lukas Moodysson, 2009)  

Ashes (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2012, Thailand)

White Bird in a Blizzard (Gregg Araki, 2014)

Unfriended (Levan Gabriadze, 2015) 

Jurassic World (Colin Trevorrow, 2015)   


Two Star Films ★★

Mesrine: Killer Instinct (Jean-François Richet, 2008)

Mesrine: Public Enemy No. 1 (Jean-François Richet, 2008) 

Wa Fee Al Layl Yarkusn / At Night, They Dance at Night (Isabelle Lavigne, 2010) 

7 Days in Havana (Benicio del Toro, Gaspar Noé, Elia Suleiman, Laurent Cantet,Julio Medem, Pablo Trapero, Juan Carlos Tabío, 2012)




How to be Bohemian, Episodes 1-3  (BBC, 2015) ★★★★

Humans, Episodes 1-3 (Channel 4, 2015) ★★★★

True Detective, Season 2, Episodes 1-2 (2015) ★★





Links to previous film and TV viewing log:
January 2015 
February 2015   
March 2015  
April 2015 
May 2015  



Cinema Akil - Here Comes the Sun film screenings in July 

The series showcases stories and narratives that grapple with concepts relating to sunlight, sunshine and the sun in its many manifestations, featuring films from around the world that span a universe of cinematic styles, directors and genres, including romance, sci-fi, drama and comedy.  

Presented at a time when The Sun takes full command over the city, Here Comes The Sun invites audiences to escape the heat and tuck themselves away into the Alserkal Avenue A4 screening room, a shelter of sorts for a cinematic confrontation with The Sun, our chosen protagonist for the summer.

Here's the line up for July (you can see the entire programme here): 
El Sol Del Membrillo / The Quince Tree Sun (1992) on 1st, 2nd, 3rd July at 9.00pm 
Director: Victor Erica | 133 min| Spanish | Spain | Art, Drama

Little Miss Sunshine (2006) on 8th, 9th, 10th July at 9.00pm
Director: Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris | 101 min | English | USA | Comedy, Adventure, Drama  

Sunset Boulevard (1950) on 15th and 16th July at 9.00pm
Director: Billy Wilder  | 110 min | English | USA | Film Noir, Romance 

Utomlyonnye solntsem / Burnt by the Sun (1994) on 22nd, 23rd, 24th July at 7.00pm 
Director: Nikita Mikhalkov | 135 min | Russian | Russia | Drama, History, War 

La prise de pouvoir par Louis XIV  / The Rise of Louis XIV (1966) on 29th, 30th, 31st July | 7pm 
Director: Roberto Rossellini | 90 min | French, Latin | France | Drama, History

The screenings are free to attend. Schedules are subject to change, please check Cinema Akil or Alserkal Avenue's or website or the event page on Facebook for updates. 



Jaws 40th Anniversary Tribute by Robert Jones 

Steven Spielberg's Jaws was released 40 years ago in June 1975. The film that made me, and I'm certain almost everyone else that that watched it, not want to go swimming after watching it. 

Here's a tribute video by Robert Jones retelling the story in three minutes. 



Robert Jones on Vimeo 


Dawn by Rose McGowan 


Rose McGowan's short film Dawn was first screened at the Sundance Film Festival this January. It is now available online and you should watch it. If you have a daughter or a sister, you should make them watch it too. 

McGowan recently discussed  "institutional stupidity and institutional infantilization of actresses" in this interview after she posted this on Twitter: 



High five to Rose McGowan, we need more female voices like her. And from now on, I will only refer to Adam Sandler as Madam Panhandler.  


The following is a post on YouTube by McGowan about her short film, Dawn:

Dear viewer,

Dawn is a cautionary tale. We hurt girls with casual negligence. We change the course of lives with a stereotypical view shared thoughtlessly. We shape the minds of the innocent. Let's think different and be better.

My inspirations were varied - I wanted the color palette of The Parent Trap (1961) the loneliness of an Edward Hopper painting, the driving tension of Night of the Hunter mixed with Hemingway's unsparing style of editing. These greats are my teachers. I layered a lot into Dawn and feel it's best watched twice.

Please enjoy for free and pass it on. THOUGHT+ART = FREEDOM




"Women and the way they look at each other and feel about themselves are at the core of my work. The 1960s were a turbulent time for women, and I wanted to study that and express it through Dawn." Rose McGowan  


Exhibition: Newsha Tavakolian's Blank Pages of an Iranian Photo Album at East Wing

© Newsha Tavakolian - Blank Pages of an Iranian Photo Album

Newsha Tavakolian's series "Blank Pages of an Iranian Photo Album" will be exhibited at East Wing
from 2nd July till 3rd September 2015. The exhibition will include photos and videos, and on 27th August, the artist will be present to launch her book and talk about the exhibition.

Personally, I'm really looking forward to the exhibition and hearing Newsha Tavakolian talk about her work in August. 
The family photo album is the showcase for my generation. The yellowed albums and pictures of smiling children dressed up in their best clothes are testament to our hopes and dreams, but they end in blank pages and the moment when our parents stopped taking our pictures (…)

For me Iran is the country where I was born, I went to school here, started my career, and never left. As a photographer I have always struggled with how to perceive my society, with all its complexities and mis-understandings.

For this project, I have decided to continue producing the photo albums of my generation. To add the pictures that were never taken of the way that life is for them now, as adults. I followed people who, in a sense, define this generation. They are interchangeable, thus representing many.

This photo album is theirs; it is my vision of life in Iran now, unromantic and confined. Those who feature on the pages are interchangeable, placed randomly in the natural situation of what is or could be their daily lives.     
© Newsha Tavakolian - Blank Pages of an Iranian Photo Album
© Newsha Tavakolian - Blank Pages of an Iranian Photo Album
© Newsha Tavakolian - Blank Pages of an Iranian Photo Album
© Newsha Tavakolian - Blank Pages of an Iranian Photo Album 

Exhibition details

Date: Opening, Thursday, 2nd July at 7pm. Exhibition will run till 3rd September 2015

Venue: East Wing,  Limestone House # 12, Dubai International Financial Centre, Ritz Carlton Annex (location map

Gallery Hours: Saturday through Thursday 10:00 am – 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm  

RIP James Horner

RIP James Horner, 14th August 1953 – 22nd June 2015



Making sense of Dubai Design District (d3) 


The following was written for Dubai Design District and was posted on the d3 website on 6th April 2015.  

Making sense of d3

For the past couple of years, Dubai Design District (d3) has been a bit of an abstract concept. I’d drive by it almost daily, seeing it rise, but not sure who will move in, what will be the added value of this "district" to the city and its people.

In a city of full of mini cities (Internet City, Media City, Studio City, Dubai Industrial City, Dubai Academic City), the choice to call it Dubai Design District is worth paying attention to.

A "district" is more of a neighbourhood, a community – much smaller than a "city".  And that turns out is a clue of what to expect from d3.

Meet d3 was a three day event that aimed to introduce the district and engage with the Dubai community. To make its mark on the map and in people’s consciousness by saying "we’re open and ready for business".

I attended all three days, the programme was extensive which included music, fashion, art and family friendly activities – featuring local, regional and international names and brands. I personally treated it as a mini music festival, but I also walked around and spoke to people, asking them what they thought of the event and the place.

It felt like a new chapter in Dubai was unraveling before our eyes. It felt like a new space for the creative community. The programming and curation of Meet d3 reflected an eclectic taste that suits Dubai and its people. There was something for everyone, which you don’t see or feel at a lot of events in this city. There was an energy that I had not felt in a long time and I hope it will carry on after the event.

I am looking forward to seeing how Dubai Design District takes shape once its occupants move in. We’re expecting a wide range of companies and brands moving in, which will include designers, architects, retail and F&B.

We’re seeing a new district taking shape right before our eyes and Dubai’s creative community can’t wait to see what it has to offer.



Introducing d3


[top image is a screenshot from this d3 timelapse video]


Andy Wahloo Tent at Meet d3


In my previous post, I said I'd write more about the Andy Wahloo tent that was set up during the three days of the Meet d3 event. 

The tent was a Dubai version of the Andy Wahloo bar-restaurant in Paris, a collaboration between artist Hassan Hajjaj and award-winning restaurateur Mourad 'MoMo' Mazouz.  It was decked out with Hajjaj’s trademark style of recycled North African objects and pop-culture references, and the food was from Almaz by Momo

It was in this tent, I referred to it as Disco Tent, where I spent most of my time and had the most fun all three days. It felt like I was attending a mini music festival. There was an eclectic line up of bands and DJs and a great vibe amongst the crowd which I personally don't feel on many nights out in Dubai.  

What I think made the Disco Tent special is it reflected what a night out in Dubai should feel like - a good mix of music enjoyed by all nationalities without any restrictions imposed at most licensed venues in Dubai. 

There were no bouncers telling you where to sit/stand, no snobby guest list, no "no national dress" code you see in most licensed venues in Dubai. The place was open to everyone and no one felt uncomfortable or like they didn't belong. I also liked there was no-smoking allowed, a rule I think that is much needed here at all music venues.

This is how it should be in Dubai, but sadly, it is not something that is often experienced here. But during those three days, all the music heads I know and met were having the time of their lives and we kept wondering why we don't have more places like this in Dubai. 

Deep down we all wished the Disco Tent would stay after Meet d3 ended, but alas, it was dismantled. I do hope something with the same spirit can crop up somewhere in this city.


Here's are some images from the three days I was there:


Interiors designed by Hassan Hajjaj 


Gnawa music 

Simo Lagnawi, Marouane El Fathi and Mohammed El Gasmi brought us Gnawa music, a long tradition of trance music which travelled through Morocco from the Sahara. Since his arrival in the U.K in 2008, Simo has been a relentless pushing new boundaries fusing Gnawa with music from countries such as Gambia, Burkina faso, Senegal, Guinea, Mali, India, Japan, Venezuela, and the Caribbean.

For Meet d3 he was being joined by two traditional Gnawa performers from Marrakech for his performance at the Andy Wahloo tent. 



Mehdi Haddab and Speed Caravan

Mehdi Haddab is an Algerian-French musician, and a pioneer of the electric oud (lute). Over the years, he’s played a major role in developing and adapting the instrument to different music genres.

Haddab is known in the West as “Jimi Hendrix of the electric oud” for his masterful performances. He has founded several band including Ikova, DuOud and Speed Caravan and has collaborated with prominent musicians including Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones.

Haddab performed a killer version of Galvanize by The Chemical Brothers (I found a video of the track you can watch and listen to below).



Luke Howard from Horse Meat Disco 

Luke Howard is one quarter of Horse Meat Disco, the four man DJ club collective that has continued to lead the way in the disco field with packed residencies at their HQ, Eagle London in London’s inner city Vauxhall, Cielo and various venues in New York, Prince Charles in Berlin and Silencio/Wanderlust in Paris.

Now approaching their tenth year of existence and inspired by the music and inclusive ethos of New York’s heady club scene in the 1970s-80s, the collective has garnered a unique reputation for throwing amazing parties with unmatchable sets. 


Everyone was dancing to Luke Howard's set, he was on for two of the three nights and some great tunes. 



Jannis (Jakarta Records)  

Jannis' set included Middle Eastern dance classics from the 1960s-70s. You can hear some of his mixes on his Soundcloud account Habibi Funk



DJ Lafriq from Arfoud Brothers band


James Locksmith 

Dubai based DJ James Locksmith was the last DJ on the last night and at one point during his set, there was a guy drumming along to his set. At that point, almost everyone was on stage dancing the last dance. 



Here's a short video to give you a glimpse inside the tent. 




Photo review of Meet d3