Dubai Aquarium to add virtual encounters with Tiger and Hammerhead sharks

Dubai Mall attracts more than 80 million visitors per year. (AFP)
Updated 25 September 2019

Dubai Aquarium to add virtual encounters with Tiger and Hammerhead sharks

LONDON: Immotion Group has struck a deal to supply virtual reality headsets to the Dubai Aquarium, one of the emirate's most visited attractions.

The London-listed entertainment group said the new additions would feature "Shark Dive,"  - a live action virtual reality experience where users can get up close with Tiger and Hammerhead Sharks.

"Signing up Dubai Aquarium is another major milestone in the company's growth story," said Martin Higginson, Immotion Group CEO. "Not only is this one of the largest aquariums, it is located in the largest shopping mall in the world with over 80 million visitors a year."

Dubai's biggest tourist attractions are competing to attract visitors as the sector comes under pressure from a strong US dollar, to which the UAE dirham is pegged, as well as pressure on hotel room rates. 

The Dubai Aquarium is one of the largest suspended aquariums in the world with over 140 species, including the largest collection of Sand Tiger Sharks, Immotion said.


‘It Must Be Heaven’: Elia Suleiman’s sardonic take on the world

Suleiman, who plays the lead role as himself, explores identity, nationality and belonging. (Supplied)
Updated 23 October 2019

‘It Must Be Heaven’: Elia Suleiman’s sardonic take on the world

MUMBAI: Elia Suleiman’s “It Must Be Heaven,” which was screened at the Mumbai Film Festival, is pure cinema. Like his earlier works, here too the Palestinian director uses wit, sarcasm and minimalism, this time to present a series of vignettes that are funny but also a powerful lambast of the world we live in. Suleiman, who plays the lead role as himself, explores identity, nationality and belonging.

He says people worldwide now live in fear amid global geopolitical tensions. Today, checkpoints are just about everywhere: In airports, shopping malls, cinemas, highways — the list is endless.

“It Must Be Heaven” was screened at the Mumbai Film Festival. (Supplied) 

Suleiman’s earlier features, such as “Chronicle of a Disappearance” and “Divine Intervention,” showed us everyday life in the occupied Palestinian territories. This time, it is Paris and New York. 

The first scene is hilarious, with a bishop trying to enter a church with his followers. The gatekeeper on the other side of the heavy wooden door is probably too intoxicated and refuses to let the priest in, leading to a comical situation. Suleiman’s life in Nazareth is filled with such incidents — snippets that have been strung together to tell us of tension in society. Neighbors turn out to be selfish, and only generous when they know they are being watched. 

The Palestinian director uses wit, sarcasm and minimalism, to present a series of vignettes that are funny but also a powerful lambast of the world we live in. (Supplied)

In Paris, the cafes along the grand boulevards, and the young women who pass by, are typical of France’s capital. But a cut to Bastille Day, with tanks rolling by in a show of strength, jolts us back to harsh reality. In New York, Suleiman’s cab driver is excited at driving a Palestinian. 

The film has an interesting way of storytelling. The scenes begin as observational shots, but the camera quickly changes positions to show Suleiman watching from the other side of the room or a street. The camera then returns to where it first stood, and this back-and-forth movement is delightfully engaging.

The framing is so perfect, and the colors so bright and beautiful, that each scene looks magical. And as the director looks on at all this with his usual deadpan expression, a sardonic twitch at the corner of his mouth, we know all this is but illusion. There is bitter truth ahead!