Sunday, May 30, 2010

#SATC2 according to my sister

The story is set two years after the events of the first film. The four friends now have lives that are more stressful than before. One of the characters of the movie (Samantha) is approached by an Arab Sheikh who he asks her to build a PR campaign for his business. He offers to fly her and her friends on an all-expenses-paid luxury vacation to Abu Dhabi. Meanwhile, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda run up against a culture clash in the Middle East, as their style and attitudes contrast with Muslim society.

Both SATC 1 and 2 have grossed well, but have been criticised for lacking any climax (no pun intended). The trailer of the movie invites people to see the ladies discover the forbidden fun city that is Abu Dhabi. Alas, the scenes depicting Abu Dhabi and the Arabian desert actually take place in North Africa. Emirates' officials turned down a request to film on location, forcing the crew to head to Morocco and recreate the Abu Dhabi setting. In 2008, the original "Sex and the City" film was not shown in the United Arab Emirates.

The truth of the matter
As I understood the movie has not helped to promote Abu Dhabi, but on the contrary providing an inaccurate portrayal of Abu Dhabi that is revolting and “disgusting” according to my sister who saw the film. Below is a list of things that made her feel that way:

Scene #1: Samantha gets an offer to come to Abu Dhabi to meet “ Sheikh Khalid” through her ex-boyfriend Smith who was in Abu Dhabi shooting a movie at the time. Sheikh Khalid offers to pay all the expenses of the girls, even a private jet.

Scene #2: Samantha claims she has heard of Dubai, but not of Abu Dhabi. The Sheikh responds to her by saying that Dubai’s future is over & Abu Dhabi is the new Middle East

Scene #3: Miranda becomes interested in the culture so she tries to learn Arabic

Scene #4: Carrie is impressed that “Pringles” chips are sold and marketed in Arabic while she was on the plane.

Scene #5: They arrive to the “AS IF” Abu Dhabi airport, which has nothing to do with the AbuDhabi airport with four chauffeured Maybach cars waiting for the ladies.

Scene #6: The security guards and individuals at check points in the airport are all females covered face-veiled (Niqab) in a very extensive and over the top manner.

Scene #7: An Emirati man from Abu Dhabi greets them, he doesn’t look from the UAE and speaks in a Levantine dialect.

Scene #8: In a traditional souk where spices and other traditional items are sold, Carrie witnesses a traditional slippers shop. Carrie becomes aggressive when asking the shop keeper the price of these slippers making him look like a complete illiterate.

Scene #9: Takes places on the pool where they lay in their bathing suits, and stare at the Emarati women who are laying there by the pool as well in an Islamic swim suit and a Niqab! They go further on to stare at the Emarati women when they eat their French fries with the niqab on.

Scene #10: Samantha is surprised when she falls for a Danish guy while in Abu Dhabi, because she never thought there are any well off handsome guys in this city.

Scene #11: Samantha gets caught and arrested, because she is seen being intimate with the Danish guy in public, however she claims they only kissed there was no sex. This changes when a condom accidently falls from her purse.

Scene #12: The Sheikh loses interest after Samantha gets caught, thus the hotel asks them to pay the rate of their stay which is up to $22K

Scene #13: Charlotte gets interested in buying a fake watch for her Jewish husband from the traditional souk. The watch shop owners torment the ladies because they didn’t buy anything

Scene #14: As men try to take away Samantha’s bag thinking she stole it, while the two parties pull the bag many condoms fall out of the bag. What does Samantha do? She stands in the middle of the market between everyone stating that she is here to F*** men.


Blogger Asma said...

I have always shown an interest in your writings, be it on your blog, or The National. Your insights on many issues are perceptive and sometimes even controversial ( Possibly why i follow your pieces). Which brings me to this one in particular. I understand that you personally have not seen the movie, and therefore basing it on your sister's impression of it. Curiosity drove me to the nearest movie theatre last week, just as am sure most people were. I went in knowing i will be offended and malicious. Despite agreeing with you on some scenes, i actually left feeling somewhat content. Here's why :

#1 : This was one of the few movies where locals were represented as smart, sophisticated, and savvy. I was even more pleased the " 3eqal" was worn relatively right.

#2: Miranda trying to learn the language and culture not only displays interest, but constantly reminded us of her concern and caution not to offend the local people. This was mirrored several times when she repeatedly covered Samantha's legs, and insisted she dresses respectfully. She also went through many do's and dont's which many tourists neglect to look up.

#3: The scene where samantha gets caught on the beach was a favorite of mine, because it demonstrated that Miranda actually informed her that PDA was illegal, however this was her punishment for breaking the law.

#4: Finally, there was the scene with women in Burqa's signaling to the 4 sex and the city girls to follow them. Albeit the women where covered head to toe, the minute they began communicating the New Yorkers realized that underneath the covers, are beautiful, smart, knowledgeable, fashionistas, who read suzanne summers ( Not something i would pick off a shelve). The point remains is that the message came across simply, dont just a book by its cover.

This by no means implies that the movie was good in any way, shape or form. Storyline was comical ( in a non-amusing way), and 50 year olds discussing their sex lives is no longer sexy; its uncomfortable. And i repeat again that it certainly not flawless, but from my humble opinion, it was atleast a good attempt at sending a better image.



Friday, June 04, 2010  
Blogger Nazsheikh said...

Well,this was really good to read. I so agree with your sis,as i went to the cinema to see the movie(don't know what i was thinking at the time) all i witness was a relatively ok movie that didn't do a good job capturing the Arab culture but made it look like something from the past.Now i don't live in Abu dhabi but i am sure it isn't that way,to make matters even worst was the SACT wanna be Arab ladies at the end of the Movie, they look like they were oppressed and subjugated to the men's will,thus needing some rescuing from their lives by the knowing all Americans.

Friday, August 20, 2010  

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