Movie: 'City of Life' by Ali F. Mostafa

Updated: Mar 13

For many of us this once known American dream is now more a legend rather than a decoy. No wonder then, that over twenty-five thousand kilometers east of the Big Apple a new city, Dubai, appeared, underrated at first, but rising quickly like a jewel among the sands.

We probably can also agree that Dubai is a kind of a business card on the map of the Arabian Peninsula. Ali F. Mostafa decided to go a step further and present this place as a kind of definition of the Arab dream. He wrote a script, made it, directed it and consequently produced it. City of Life deserves attention, not only because of the unique effort that Ali. F. Mostafa put in this film, but above all because it brings us closer to the image of a phenomenal city, which Dubai undoubtedly is. 


We start our journey not as a tourist, but as a tormented manual worker who cycles the successive streets of the city.


Here it is: the highest building in the world - Burj Khalifa. The largest shopping center - Dubai Mall. The most luxurious hotel - Burj Al Arab. Therefore, it should not be a surprise that such a spectacular city appears to many as a chance for a better life, for a dream come true, for a good time. The director of the film makes this vision very clear, additionally supporting it with numerous examples.


We get to know the fate of young people who have nothing to do with each other. It turns out, however, that in a city like Dubai, everything is interrelated. We meet Natalia, a stewardess of Slavic origin who falls in love not only with the city full of money and influence. There is also Basu -  a Hindi taxi driver, unfulfilled  as an actor, whose resemblance to the Hollywood celebrity is a curse rather than a blessing. The picture is completed by Faisal - a local boy who has an affluent father. Raised accordingly to the specific and quite strict Arab principles and traditions, he devotes himself to a rather careless lifestyle.


As a standard, a mix of unfulfilled dreams, unrealized plans and insufficient good values is served. And yet the viewer sees good intentions, soft heart, naivety, unpretentiousness and honesty. In the face of such arguments, there will be no abuse if I reveal that fate combines the paths of heroes. But it does it in its own, very tragic way. Tragedy according to obvious rules leads to reflection and, consequently, changes. 

Let's move into an Arab dream for a moment, not to experience mimesis. We all hear that when a door closes, it opens a window somewhere else. I want to believe it opens for us not to jump out, but to look through it. One should look for new opportunities and understand that it is not the city itself that creates them. New York, Singapore, Moscow, Paris or Dubai, in all the cities people dream similarly, they dream about the same. It is great to see how different this frame is and how uncommonly it can work on the self-confident and knowledgeable mind.


If you're in a neighborhood, perhaps transiting at the Dubai Airport and think there is not much to surprise you here, I dare you to leave the air-conditioned and shimmering airport and collide with the dense desert air.

At the end, you might be surprised. 

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