Review: Emirati feature ‘Birth’ falters on props and performances

The 82-minute Emirati feature film “Birth” explores 24 hours in the life of an Emirati family living in the mountains in Ras Al-Khaimah. (File photo: Shutterstock)
Updated 27 January 2019
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Review: Emirati feature ‘Birth’ falters on props and performances

DUBAI: The 82-minute Emirati feature film “Birth” explores 24 hours in the life of an Emirati family living in the mountains in Ras Al-Khaimah on a day devoted to the memory of martyrs.
Produced and directed by Abdulla Hasan Ahmed, the film debuted during the 2017 Dubai Film Festival and took center stage at this week’s inaugural Sharjah Film Platform festival.
The movie is divided into four parts, with the first three each giving a different family member’s perspective and the final one presented from the point of view of the family as a whole.
Ahmed examines the tensions that arise among the family members as each of them face different dilemmas in their lives: The mother, Umm Abood, is concerned with the safety of her unborn child and with the release of her pregnant camel into the wilderness to allow it to give birth in a place of its choice. The 12-year-old son, Abood, has to choose between playing in a football match with his friends and volunteering to hang the pictures of martyrs at school. The father, Abu Abood, meets an old man in need of help and has to decide whether to delay his mission to find the perfect place in which to set his wife’s camel free.
The story is helped along by some striking, bright visuals, courtesy of cinematographer Shehab Ali. His captivating, colorful imagery fits well with the rugged Emirati landscape on screen. The film’s music and sound design are also well-done, complementing the visuals and the script and helping to build an atmosphere — whether that be mysterious, happy or sad.
However, certain details undermine the good work in other areas — in particular the laughably unconvincing pregnant belly of Umm Abood. The acting, too, often leaves a lot to be desired. The children, especially, seem unnatural and awkward at times.
The plot becomes more engaging as the movie progresses and the audience begins to connect with the characters on screen. Ahmed navigates his multiple-perspective narrative with skill — each personal story is convincing enough to draw the audience in and enable them to empathize with the family.


Where We Are Going Today: JD Lounge

Updated 15 February 2019
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Where We Are Going Today: JD Lounge

  • t is highly recommended for anyone who is in Jeddah, especially if they feel like a fancy dinner

JD Lounge is a relaxing restaurant and cafe that offers a distinctive, sophisticated ambiance. What first drew me to it, however, is its fun reading corner, as I often struggle to find spots where I can read in peace without the distracting hum of other people’s conversations.
The venue is simple but elegant, with a French-style interior that is both modern and classy, with obvious attention to detail and a lovely music selection. It is highly recommended for anyone who is in Jeddah, especially if they feel like a fancy dinner that will delight the palate and leave you feeling fully satisfied, as it serves generous portions of delicious food.
I was particularly delighted to discover JD Lounge serves rose lattes as I have been wanting to try one for a long time. It was worth the wait. The beautifully arranged pink concoction was served topped with edible rose petals and rose powder. The aesthetic of the drink and the rich, mixed aroma of coffee and rose took my breath away before I had tasted a drop — and then when I had my first sip, it was better than I had dreamed, with the rose flavor sweet but not overwhelming.
JD Lounge can be found in northern Obhur, across from King Abdullah Medical City.