Horse Power and the Abu Dhabi Film Festival

Everyone says the UAE has only two seasons, hot and hotter.  But there is a far better season, the film

Sheikh Mohammed

festival season.  The Abu Dhabi Film Festival kicked off last week and is now going strong with 170 films from around the world.  Tops on my list to see are Miral, Carlos, Kingdom of Women, Homeland, Virgin Goat, and the Life of Fish.  The problem with film festivals is that they’re not national holidays so there are so many films we don’t get to see, and it is such a short season, kind of like winter around here.

The festival’s opening film was Disney’s Secretariat, sort of perfect for a country obsessed with horses.  And on that note, I’ll leave you with the thoughts of one of my students, Iman Nawfal, who is interning at the festival this year.

Secretariat is a promising story that will reveal its greatness & beauty on the screen of Abu Dhabi Film Festival. Secretariat is a famous horse with a lousy history in the racing world, but that doesn’t stop Penny Chenery (Diane Lane) from having faith in this particular horse and choosing him to join her team to conquer the male-only-horse-racing world. This movie is not just for leisure watching in the Arab world.  We as Muslim Arabian Emirati relate to horse riding in many ways. As Muslims, it is in our religion to learn horse riding as our prophet Mohammed said that we need to teach our kids horse riding because it’s a symbol of bravery and leadership. As Arabians, being an equestrian is sign of nobility and authenticity as years ago, famous Arabian tribes used to own and bred horses. the passion for horses for ages and they flourished in this area remarkably.  In the UAE, horse racing is a famous sport that is celebrated annually in many emirates. Horse riding is not just a sport to us:,  It is a noble relationship that bonds between the horse and the equestrian. It is a symbol of beauty and greatness. It is as His Highness Sheik Mohammed Bin Rashid said “Horse riding is more than merely sitting on a horse’s back. It is nobility and chivalry.”  In this American movie, we Emiratis can see our love of horse mirrored in the determined Penny Chenery.”

–by Iman Nawfal, Zayed University senior

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