Noel Burch's Essay: Somewhere Between Sex And City Of Life

Decent Essays
Somewhere between Sex and the City and City of Life In his essay “The Horror Film and the Horror of Film,” David Lavery writes about how the first public showings of film in 1895 in Paris caused terror, particularly one that was just about a train arriving at a station (L’arrive d’un train en gare, Lumiere Bros, 1895). Such fear stemmed in part from the simple fact that the populace had not yet learned to watch movies and was unprepared for withstanding their realism. However, as Noel Burch has reminded, the reaction of that first audience was no mere aberration: for movies have from their inception been perceived as a kind of threat, "a veritable public menace"; hence the early and persistent demands throughout their history for censorship…show more content…
The Emirati directed films have yet to reach a quality and level where they have significant distribution outside the Gulf, so they are not doing much to diversify the portrait of self abroad. However, they are helping define how Emiratis see themselves, very much an image in the making, both in reality and in film. While the government is not supporting films of national self-glorification, it is not allowing for self-criticism. The same is true for the audience. Perhaps as the UAE becomes more confident and comfortable with its portrayal abroad, itwill be more flexible with its portrayal at home. Part of that growth will depend on an acceptance of societal realities, as well as a commitment to screenwriting and story development. So while the UAE undergoes its cinematic split personality—heavily soliciting productions like Syriana and then censoring in local theatres two minutes of the footage shot in Dubai because it highlighted labor issues and religious fanaticism—it is also developing an audience that will hopefully become more comfortable with seeing itself in the reality created by film. In other words, ideally filmmakers will increasingly be able to pursue more engaging, fullyrealized stories that can look at critically at themselves rather than relying on expat boogie men to serve as the scapegoats
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