Free film series exploring the Middle East’s past coming to Louvre Abu Dhabi

Roads of Arabia includes three fascinating films at the Saadiyat island museum

Free film series exploring the Middle East’s past coming to Louvre Abu Dhabi

Fancy kicking back and seeing a film in some arty surroundings?

Louvre Abu Dhabi is putting on a free series of film screenings in its auditorium from Saturday January 19 until Saturday February 2, and they sound like real think pieces.

The series, called Roads of Arabia , has been curated by Emirati artist Hind Mezaina, inspired by the by Roads of Arabia: Archaeological Treasures of Saudi Arabia exhibition currently at The Louvre.

There will be three films in total, with one being shown every Saturday.

They explore the Arabian Peninsula’s past and present. The series kicks off with Desert Seas (2011), followed by Nearby Sky (2014) and Theeb (2014).

Desert Seas is an English documentary that follows Sir David Attenborough as he unveils two stunning underwater realms of Saudi Arabia – the flamboyant wildlife of the Red Sea and the contrasting hot muddy Gulf’s hidden riches. This 46-minute film, directed by Mark Wheeler, Simon Nash and Dominic Weston, will screen on Saturday 19 January at 5pm and is rated PG13.

Nearby Sky is documentary by Emirati artist Nujoom Alghanem. It looks at the first Emirati female camel owner, Fatima Ali Alhameli, to enter her camel in the country’s camel beauty pageant competition and participate in Abu Dhabi’s camel auctions, where her attempts faced stiff opposition from the organisers and society. The film captures Fatima’s courage and pioneering spirit through this journey. The 85-minute film will screen in Arabic with English subtitles on Saturday 26 January at 5pm and is also rated PG13.

Theeb, a film directed by Naji Abu Nowar, is set in the Ottoman province of Hijaz during World War I, following a young Bedouin boy and his hastened coming-of-age story, as he embarks on a perilous desert journey to guide a British officer on a mysterious mission. This 100-minute film will screen in Arabic with English subtitles on Saturday 2 February at 5pm and is rated PG15.

If the films whet your appetite for culture and you want to see the art from which it was inspired, you can book a Roads of Arabia guided exhibition tour and explore the archaeological artworks and masterpieces. The tour runs every day at 3pm for an hour and costs Dhs52.20.

To see the films you need to book in advance on the Louvre Abu Dhabi website.

We’ve definitely seen films in shabbier places…

Free. Sat Jan 19, Jan 26, Feb 2, 5pm. Louvre Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Island, www.louvreabudhabi.ae.

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