City of Life by Ali F. Mostafa
City of Life premiered last December at the Dubai International Film Festival 2009. I intentionally skipped this movie in December because I normally focus on watching movies I know that will have no chance in hell getting a wide release here and instead of counting on watching them on DVD later and since I cherish my cinema theatre experience), I make sure I watch as many as I can at the festival.
So with that in mind and with City of Life being a Dubai produced movie, I assumed it would be released across cinemas here shortly after the festival. It's been a couple of months since the film festival, and still no sign of release dates in Dubai.
I am not sure how Dubai expects to have a flourishing movie scene here if our own movies don't get shown in our cinemas. To add insult to injury, I just found out that there is a demand campaign that hopes to get a release date soon, at least in this region. I mean, if there has to be petition style effort to get this movie released in Dubai, I just feel there is no hope for filmmakers here. Who knows, maybe it's a marketing ploy to add some hype, but if it isn't, why do some things have to be so hard around here?
"Instead of just waiting around, we've decided to do something about it. Join us in demanding the film in your country. Each demand vote counts."
About the movie itself - Dubai is the city that is being referred to in the title, and it is Dubai that unites the three different characters in the movie and how their loves collide. The characters reflect the multi-ethnic population of the city and Dubai is one of the main stars of the movie.
I heard mixed reviews from friends that watched it in December, with comments like:
- weak story line but very strong production
- similar to Crash
- a very slick looking movie
- shows the real side of Dubai that not many see on a big screen
- has strong potential for international release and to reach a wider audience
Nevertheless, I do want to watch it, the trailer makes it look like it is worth watching, but most importantly, I'm curious to see my city on a big screen in a movie, which is a rare occurence in itself.