I'd always dreamt of Jebel Ali...
The following is a short piece I wrote two years ago for Dubai Architectural Stories, a supplement for a quarterly art guide called ArtMap published in Dubai by Art in the City.
The supplement was for the Autumn/Winter issue un 2017 which focused on architecture, and I was asked to contribute a short piece for the Architectural Film Recommendation section.
The supplement was only available in print, so I decided to share what I wrote here.
Code 46 (Dir. Michael Winterbottom, 2003)
The film is a love story set in the future starring Tim Robbins (William Geld) and Samantha Morton (Maria Gonzales).
Genetics are controlled by the state through embryo splitting and cloning techniques. If genetic reproduction does occur naturally, it is termed a Code 46 violation. William has to choose between his career and family or his love for Maria. To flee, they have to go to Jebel Ali in Dubai.
Filmed primarily in Shanghai and Dubai, this is a future that is multi-ethnic and the language includes non-English phrases, but it also has a class structure. The high-rise glossy architecture of Shanghai represents a utopia - the "Inside", where the healthy and the affluent live in a technologically advanced society.
Dubai in this film stands for the "Outside" where people escape to.
"I'd always dreamt of Jebel Ali. The Jebel Ali of my father's stories. He told me you could do anything there, as long as you wanted it enough."