Friday 23 November 2012

Sea Shadow [2011]

Sea Shadow was only the 9th feature film made in UAE and second of the Emirati filmmaker Nawaf Al-Janahi, yet it is a work of surprising maturity. A simple, heartwarming and lyrical coming-of-age tale of teenage love, heartbreak and the consequent process of growing up, this film is marked by its technical polish, as also the director’s eyes for subtlety and detailing. The central protagonist of the story is Mansoor (Omar Al Mulla), a teenage boy belonging to a lower middle-class family. He spends most of his time either hanging out with a close friend of his, or delivering food items prepared by his mother. He is also silently in love with Kaltham (Neven Madi), a very pretty, sweet and shy girl living in his neighbourhood, and who too silently reciprocates his feelings; the strong social and familial traditions, however, prevent either of them from taking the next step. Mansoor also happens to be a secretly ambitious guy, and when he meets an alluring girl older to him, who, on account of her oozing sensuality (which she is well aware of), maturity and wealthy family backgrounds, make him feel cuckolded, and, blinded by her dazzling beauty, he starts dreaming for the elusive stars. Though the film also comprised of a few asides – both for dramatic and humorous effects, and for making commentaries about the deeply orthodox society, never did Janahi lose track of his basic plot, nor did he veer from the understated style of storytelling. The lovely, memorable finale of this bittersweet, beautifully photographed film seamlessly transported me to the fond memories of my own long disappeared teenage days.

p.s. Watched this as part of 2012 Kolkata International Film Festival (KFF)

Director: Nawaf Al-Janahi
Genre: Drama/Romantic Comedy/Coming-of-Age
Language: Arabic
Country: UAE


Sam Juliano said...

Yet another here that I am unfamiliar with, but again am thrilled to hear the glowing report on. I am also drawn to coming-of-age stories, and looks like this one affords a different cultural perspective on it. Terrific capsule here!

Shubhajit said...

Yes, indeed. The cultural aspect played a key driver in the storyline. But, that said, there is generally a certain universality in good coming-of-age stories that I like. And, the added bonus lay in watching my first film from UAE.