Tue Mar 12,2013

TENBAK: First winner of first prize

TENBAK, by the Emirati director Abdullah Hassan Ahmed, was the first film to win top honours in the short film competition at the first edition of the Gulf Film Festival in 2008.

The film is a milestone for the director and it is considered to complement his visual documentation of the UAE with stories that come from the Emirates.

TENBAK, which has been written by Mohammed Hassan Ahmed, is based on harmonious aesthetics – between the story and its characters and the visual narrative and film location. Even though the film is only 26 minutes long, it is enough time for the audience to fully understand the depth of the characters and the story.

The characters have been developed with attention to detail and the audience learns their individual quirks and mannerisms soon enough; Habib Ghuloom’s persistent cough and how in spite of that, he doesn’t stop smoking; Saeed Obaid is characterised by his skin colour and the coal mine he works in and Ibrahim Salem is memorable because of his nervous habits.

The film highlights an array of issues through its characters. The abandoned aunt (Ashjan) seeks warmth in the burning ember in front of her. Saeed Obaid hopes to marry her, but is rejected by her brother (Habib Ghuloom) because of his skin.

At the same time, the film highlights the friendship between the two and how their paths differ due to the colour of their skin..Their dream is to leave the mountains that surround them from all sides. However, the focus shifts from the dream towards the characters: the first one is cruel, selfish and disrespectful and works in trading tobacco, while the second is simple and nice, working in a coal mine. Despite living in the same place, they are divided into black and white.


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