Saturday, April 15, 2006


Syriana opened in the UAE last Wednesday. It's now playing to packed houses. The plot is labyrinthine, a state of affairs not helped by the censors snipping nearly three minutes out of the movie. There's a lot of talk and very little in the way of gunfire and explosions, so it's not the sort of film that might normally attract a UAE audience.

I suspect that Syriana would not have nearly the attention it's getting in the Middle East were it not for the opportunity to play Dubai Location Spotting. I'm guilty of it too. In one scene of George Clooney driving from Sharjah to Dubai on an astonishingly empty Al Ittihad Road, the camera zoomed back until I was able to nudge my companion and say, "I can see my house from here."

As for the censorship, if we assume that smut, nudity 'and similar approved' are censored because we all know it exists but we're rather embarrassed about it, then what does this imply about the UAE censoring a scene in the movie portraying maltreatment of labourers from the sub-continent?


J. Edward Tremlett said...

"then what does this imply about the UAE censoring a scene in the movie portraying maltreatment of labourers from the sub-continent?"

A rhetorical question, I'm sure. : )

I have yet to see the movie here in the states. I should probably get it from the library, sometime.


Grumpy Goat said...

The irony is that portrayal of the police beating up labourers isn't the type of abuse that actually occurs.

The 'traditional' way to abuse them is to:-

Steal their passports upon arrival so they can't leave the country.

Provide grotty accommodation in the middle of nowhere. Twenty men to a room with one cold tap for cooking, washing and laundry is commonplace.

Fail to pay even the meagre salaries promised (a few hundred UAE dirhams a month).

Forbid trade unions and prohibit industrial action by law.

J. Edward Tremlett said...

Very true. I guess they didn't feel like going into that during the film?


Doha Diva said...

We finally saw the movie the other night and remain totally confused as to the plot. However, if depictions of heavily armed Lebanese keep Americans "safely" in their homeland, it's not altogether a bad thing.
We saw your apartment block too. Shame there was no filming in Doho (sic) as well.


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