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

Saffiya Ansar
Sun, 2019-01-27 15:51

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.

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Source: AN-Food and Health
Review: Emirati feature ‘Birth’ falters on props and performances