Cinem'Art - Film screenings at Louvre Abu Dhabi

Cinem'Art is a new program of film screenings starting at Louvre Abu Dhabi this summer. Yours truly was invited to curate its first film series and I hope to work on more film screenings later this year. Needless to say, I am honored and beyond happy and excited to be working on thi. I hope as many of you in Abu Dhabi and nearby can attend the screenings. 

The films are inspired by art works in the museum, to create a dialogue between cinema and art. This first series includes classics, documentaries, experimental and short films. Melissa Gronlund from The National asked me a few questions for a feature about the film screenings, you can read it here

The screenings will take place in the Louvre Abu Dhabi Auditoroum every Saturday at 5pm, from 23 June until 28 July. They are free to attend, and you can register in the Events section on Louvre Abu Dhabi's website.  

Here's the line up, synopsis, images, trailers and the schedule: 

Saturday, 23rd June - 5pm

Directed by Franz Osten | 1928 | Silent with English intertitles  | 105 min  

Based on the romance between 17th-century Mughal ruler Shah Jahan and his queen, this epic silent film is theravishing, romantic tale behind the creation of one of the world’s most iconic structures: the Taj Mahal.

Shot entirely on location in India, it features lavish costumes and gorgeous settings – all the more impressive inthis restoration by the BFI National Archive which features a specially commissioned score by the GrammyAward-winning Anoushka Shankar.

Produced by and starring Indian film legend Himansu Rai, the film is performed by an all-Indian cast, featuringRai as humble potter Shiraz, who follows his childhood sweetheart Selima (Enakshi Rama Rau) when she’s soldby slave traders to the future emperor (Charu Roy).   

This film screening is inspired by The Mughal Empire paintings (Gallery 7 in Louvre Abu Dhabi) which depict a certain lifestyle and elegance that is reflected in this film, set in 17th century India. 

Saturday, 30th June - 5pm

Directed by Benjamin Wigley | 2016 | Documentary | English subtitles | 72 min   

Once upon a time in Ghana, Paa Joe's business—bespoke "fantasy coffins," meticulously crafted simulacra of mythic beasts—was booming, but that time appears long past. His son Jacob seeks to return the family business to its former glory, a plan that begins with an artist residency in the UK where they will craft their biggest and boldest coffin yet: a majestic lion.

Paa Joe and The Lion is the heartwarming fish-out-of-water story about a father and son embracing life through art that celebrates death.  

This film screening is inspired by the Reliquary casket (on display in Gallery 6 in Louvre Abu Dhabi) made from Fatimid rock crystal plaques, dated 1200-1210. 

Saturday, 7th July - 5pm

Directed by Johann Lurf | 2017 | Experimental | 90 min 

 invites viewers  to enjoy stargazing in this conceptual work of cinematic interpretations of the night sky. A film that defies explanation, Austrian filmmaker Joahnn Kurf has chosen an audacious and ever expanding subject for this feature film: the stars in the night's sky.

The film is a brilliantly edited compliation of scenes ofthe night sky from 550 films, from the beginning of film history up to the present day, including the original soundtracks. 

This film screening is inspired by Astrolabe by Muhammad Ibn Ahmed Al Battuti (Maghreb, 1726-1777) which represents a celestial sphere in a flat projection. The artwork is on display in the Cosmopgraphy Gallery in Louvre Abu Dhabi. 

Saturday, 14th July - 5pm

Directed by various filmmakers | 1900-1948 | Silent with English intertitles | 68 min

Take a trip back to China in the first half of the 20th Century with this programme of extraordinary, rare and beautiful travelogues, newsreels and home movies from the BFI National Archive, featuring music by Ruth Chan.

Made by a wealth of British and French filmmakers, from professionals to intrepid tourists, colonial-era expatriates and Christian missionaries, the film explores 50 years of Chinese history across a diverse range offootage. The collection includes what might be the oldest surviving films.

This film screening is inspired by A Chinese Scene (Jean Baptiste Pillement, 1765-1767) which looks at daily life in China through Western eyes in the 18th century. The artwork can be seen in Gallery 9 at Louvre Abu Dhabi.

Saturday, 21st July - 5pm

Directed by Eileen Hofer | 2015 | Documentary | Spanish with English subtitles | 70 min 

Through different generations of Cuban ballet dancers Eileen Hoffer shows love and passion for dance. Threestrong women who completely dedicated their lives for ballet- the legend and the local hero Alicia Alonso, prima ballerina assoluta, now 93, who  founded the National Ballet of Cuba, Viengsay Valdes at the beginning of her international career and young Amanda, who is dreaming about entering the famous ballet school.

Together, their interwoven stories give an enchanting glimpse of ballet talent, past, present and future.

This film screening is inspired by Edgar Degas: Dancer Fourth Position on the Left Leg, Third Study which represents movement, strength and control in ballet dancing. This artwork is on display in Gallery 10 in Louvre Abu Dhabi. 

Saturday, 28th July - 5pm

Directed by various filmmakers | 2017-2018 | Arabic with English subtitles | 60 mins) 

Still from Arasian (Dir. Ahmed Al Tunaiji)

Still from Arasian (Dir. Ahmed Al Tunaiji)

Inspired by the home city of Louvre Abu Dhabi, the last screening of this series will be dedicated to short films made by young filmmakers in the UAE, and part of Louvre Abu Dhabi's programming for the Year of Zayed.

The films touch on personal memories, struggles achievements, the meaning of home. They were all screened at the Zayed University Middle East Film Festival 2018 curated by Sascha Ritter and Alia Yunis which took place in February at Warehouse 421. 

Films selected for this screening: 

Arasian (Dir. Ahmed Al Tunaiji): A boy struggles at school to prove he is more Emirati than Asian.

From A to Bee (Dir. Maryam Moustafa) : Honey production in the UAE is more complicated than it looks.

A Time to Pray (Dir. Ahmed Al Kuwaiti): The member of a mosque must help a woman deliver her baby.

Robbama (Dir. Malak Mansoura): Expats in the UAE discuss their definition of home.

Odyssey (Dir. Maryam Al Romaithi): The UAE’s first female mountain climber talks about what keeps her going.

Sheikh Zayed’s 100th Birthday (Dir. Hooraya Al Muflahi): A man recalls his encounters with Sheikh Zayed, which began when he was a child.

Please spread the word and hope to see you at these screenings.