World’s largest underwater theme park opens in Bahrain

The theme park covers an area of 100,000 square meters. (Supplied)
Updated 26 September 2019

World’s largest underwater theme park opens in Bahrain

DUBAI: The world’s largest underwater theme park for diving enthusiasts has opened in Bahrain.

Covering an area of 100,000 square meters, the Dive Bahrain park has a 70-meter-long decommissioned Boeing 747 as its centerpiece, the largest aircraft ever to be intentionally submerged.

The site, close to Bahrain International Airport, also features a replica of a traditional Bahraini pearl merchant’s house, which is being overseen by Diyar Al-Muharraq, artificial coral reefs and other sculptures that will be fabricated and submerged to provide a safe haven for coral reef growth and to ensure a sustainable habitat for marine life.

The eco-friendly park will also provide researchers with a rich source of information on marine ecologies and will enhance environmental awareness on the importance of preserving marine life.

The project was developed in close cooperation between the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA) and the Supreme Council for Environment (SCE).


‘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!