Sample Essay on The City of Life”, a Boost to UAE’s Film Industry

“The City of Life,” a Boost to UAE’s Film Industry


For a long time, there has been no film business in the UAE despite the local television showing the series “Musalsalats” in Arabic language. The musalsalats are soap operas that run on either daily or weekly basis, specifically during Ramadan, over a given period – usually not more than three months (In Knight, 2013). Hence, the musalsalats are very specific to the cultural contexts of the local population, the Emirati (Pozzan, 2009). The UAE film industry roots its hopes in the two business centers, Dubai – which has a long shipping and trading background – and Abu Dhabi, which hosts one of the largest oil reserves in the sphere. The Emirati movie, “the City of Life,” is a real reflection of life in the city of Dubai and meets the threshold of every aspect of a Hollywood movie.


The culture of filming in the UAE began in the mid-2000s when the Dubai film International Festival (DIFF) was launched. The film industry has seen Arabs from other countries such as Egypt and Lebanon do a lot of production work with the Emiratis left to do the acting part. The impeccable financial ability of the country has enabled the film industry to tap top film producers and directors and other talents through the DIFF. Surprisingly, the movie industry ranks second in the petroleum industry as the daily conversation dominants (Baran, 2013). The film industry seems to be taking shape with the establishment of the Abu Dhabi Media company of the state. The current challenge for the movie industry concerns inadequate infrastructure coupled with the insufficient educated population that can absorb the huge investment funds that are released to the industry by the government through the company.

The DIFF has now become a global dispute with the business centers of the UAE showing vast potentials as preferred destinations for movie making. The western nations including the United States of America have shown interest to investing in the UAE film industry (Baran, 2013). The Dubai Media City is the growing giant of the Middle East, and it has captured the consideration of media companies around the globe (Baran, 2013). This paper focuses on the social context, audience and other aspects of the movie, The City of Life whose cost of production is between 5-7 million US dollars. The UAE film industry has a great future, and this is evident in the attempts by nations of the developed world to sink their investments in the country (Roy, 2010). The city of life is a well-made movie based on its quality and content and the complaints about it as showing negatives of the town of Dubai is necessary and those living by this decent are members either of the traditional delusion lists or are those who have just decided to leave in denial.


The Emirati film tells much about different lives that are parallel among the several cultural contexts that are present in the city of Dubai (Pozzan, 2009). The setting of the movie is the United Arab Emirates, with Ali F. Mostafa, as its writer, director, and producer. Other producers of the film include; Leigh Clarke, Tim Smythe, and Tanya Wagne. The people who worked on its screenplay were Gerry Sherard and Ali F. Mostafa (Pozzan, 2009). Matthew Faddy and Barry Kirsch with Michael Brierley as its cinematographer sing the background music in the movie (Roy, 2010). Raul Skopecz edited the video with Gate Media Films, Filmworks Dubai, and AFM Films as its distributors.

Notably, this film is written in three languages; Arabic, English, and Hindi. The video features; Alexandra, Maria Lara, Sonu Sood, Saoud Al Kaabi, The Narcicyst, Jason Flemyng, and Natalie Dorme . in the cast are; Alexandra Maria Lara as Natalia Moldovan, Sonu Sood as Basu/Peter Patel, Saoud Al Kaabi as Faisal, The Narcicyst as Khalfan, Susan George as Constance Bateman, Jason Flemyng as Guy Berger, Natalie Dormer as Olga, Ahmed Ahmed as Nasser, Habib Ghuloom as Faisal’s Father, Jaaved Jaffrey as Suresh Khan, and David Chant as Senior Flight Officer (Baran, 2013). Although The “City of Life” is not the first feature film from the UAE contrary to the popular perception, but the first full feature film that is accessible at greater depths (Baran, 2013). Accessibility is this context means that the movie can stand on its own in any cinema in any city without due dependence on regional or international film festivals to be seen. The movie gives great insights into the finer details of the city some of which are unknown to many people who live in it.

Social Context

The movie reveals the true picture of both sides of the social life in the city, the interaction between the poor and the rich. It strives to give a genuine reflection of the realities in the city just like in many cities of the world. The “City of Life” is a metropolitan drama that trails the numerous crossings of cast for many ethnic members. It evaluates how indiscriminate interactions and their ultimate consequences can permanently influence the lives of other people. As the name implies, City of Life is an extremely generous mixture of converging experiences that only intercultural and inter-cast interactions produces within a society. Through the lives of various characters in the film, the movie exposes Dubai as a city that still manifests dreams and promotes ambitions, growth, and job opportunities. The film presents the city itself as an exciting living character (Terri, G. & Chris, 2010). Mainly, the “City of Life” eventually exposes how surprising tragedy and loss can pointer to hope and extreme change as it discovers and leaks the complex network that subsists in the race, ethnicity, and class divide of a developing multi-cultural society.

In the contemporary times characterized by inter-racial, inter-cultural, and inter-ethnic competitions and stratifications, the film depicts the multi-national population as striving to reach out to several races, and ethnic groups than just sticking to the glitz and the glamor aspect of Dubai (El Hamamsy & Soliman, 2013). The movie shows that sometimes, life can be harsh in the city and that people must struggle in their own unique ways in their individual bids to cope, to realize true happiness, and to take advantage of every opportunity available in the realization of their dreams (Ginsberg & Aminian, 2010). The movie implies that the nature of life in Dubai can sometimes make someone feel lonely an isolated and yearn for that feeling of wanting to associate with a particular group of people. Notably, the movie employs the social upheaval among the Emiratis and not between Emiratis and non-Emiratis to show the real life experiences in the city.

For example, Faisal, the young Emirati man from a wealthy family leads an empty life of fast cars, late nights with no clearly defined ambitions. However, he finds it exciting when he spends time with his childhood friend, Khalfan, a poor and canny Emirati (El Hamamsy & Soliman, 2013). The poor Emirati has a loud mouth and is very intolerant, a trait that often land Faisal into troubles and subsequent street fights. The picture in the relationship between these two Emirati friends reflects the image of the link between these two Emirati friends reflects real relationships that subsist in the real world (Ginsberg & Aminian, 2010). Most of the world’s cities have streetwise people whose lives seem vulnerable, and if the film reveals this aspect of Dubai, why no contention?

The characters are conventional, and the manner in which the define their roles is a way of showing the practice of segregation among the different social classes in the city of Dubai, that restricts free interaction and intermingling among people. Typically, no one could have come to the realities of the town that the movie displays since the film has shown lifestyles beyond which a tourist guidebook could have provided to the Dubai population (Books Llc, 2010). In addition, the soundtrack comprises talented musicians and songwriters giving the movie an entertaining gesture. The music contributes to the overall pleasing nature of the film.

Road Carnage is a common problem cutting across cultures and nations. Countries spend millions each year in campaigning against behaviors that may result in this depravity. This aspect is critical and practical too, since some of us in one way, or another have lost family in the road carnage that we often see in the news headlines (El Hamamsy & Soliman, 2013). The presentation of a scene of road carnage is a test that the movie seeks to find the underlying cause of traffic accidents and their actual impacts on the citizens. Consequently, it acts as a way of reaching out to potential victims of traffic accidents and even forewarns the drivers to take precautionary measures. Despite the sorrowful outlook of an accident scene, it is enriching to watch a movie that reveals the practical aspects of life (Terri, G. & Chris, 2010). The film revives some concrete memories that make it memorable to an extent that one can use it to learn unknown aspects of the city (Books Llc, 2010).




The movie is more of informative than an entertainment movie. The movie focuses on a mass market rather than a niche market. The intended primary audience for the film includes those who reside in Dubai and who can relate to the various scenarios depicted in the picture. Since it is acted in three languages, an audience that understands any of the three languages can view it. The secondary audience is thus those whose lives are related in one way or the other with the various social concerns of the movie. This may include those intending to learn about life in the city of Dubai. The tertiary audience is anyone who is interested in the movie for entertainment purposes.


The UAE’s film industry is likely to boom in future following current investments by the western nations. The release of the movie, “City of Life” is a positive indicator that Dubai has the potential for acting one of the best movies in the world. The movie portrays the town of Dubai in an accurate and honest manner. The target audience for the movie is primarily Dubai citizens who have much in common with the displays of the film. Other audiences are those with interest in the Dubai city life and those who intend to be entertained through a film as long as they can understand any of the languages of the film. The “City of Life” meets the quality threshold and does not depict Dubai negatively as some people thought.







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