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From Lama J…
The first movie I ever watched in the cinema was an Arabic movie called “Ice Cream Fe Glim.” It was a romantic love story and I liked it so much. I went with my sisters and a few other friends and I enjoyed watching it far away from home and far from my father’s cynical comments about romance in movies. The cinema has been my great escape ever since.
I always find the cinema a great way to get away from everything; a good story that keeps you occupied for couple of hours, even when you’re lonely or have nothing to do. I do my best to see my favorite actors and actresses on the big screen. It’s like I feel kind of disconnected from the whole world and I’m living in my plane of existence other than my own. I’ve always liked Hollywood movies, but also enjoy watching Arabic and Bollywood films as well. I also enjoy documentaries about other countries and cultures.
I live in Dubai and since moving here I’ve witnessed behavior inside a cinema I’d never seen anywhere else. Cinemas in Dubai are often like small chat rooms, a place where people gather to talk and to make silly comments about every single part of the movie. If you go on the weekend to City Centre or Mall of the Emirates in Dubai, you feel you are inside a café shop full with kids, or a grocery store with many buyers. Some people even show up in the middle of the movie and leave 30 minutes before the movie ends. Some people continue their business by answering their phone calls and calling people to tell them about the movie. When there is a romantic scene, teenagers make stupid jokes and can’t stop making noises. There have been times when I wished I could yell into a mike and scream at everyone to be quiet. I pay eight dollars, but my snacks and settle in only to be annoyed – what’s the point. It seems people in Dubai, more often than not, simply don’t respect other people
I watched a documentary film from a Lebanese director about maids who are brought into Beirut from India and Sri Lanka. The film’s was about how horrible the living circumstances are for these maids, leaving their families and children behind for years, for little money and often enduring physical and sexual abuse. It really broke my heart, but I sat there and listened to people laugh. When I saw a documentary about Palestine with some fellow Palestinians I felt so sad and cried about what is happening to my people. At the same time, my other Palestinian friends didn’t seem to care less.
My dream now is to watch a movie in a quiet environment. I even try my best to go to a cinema that few people go to. I don’t even like to take anyone with me except for my husband, as we both like watching movies. There was a time when I was with my husband and a Chinese man, who couldn’t speak English, and a friend of his were sitting right next to us. His friend was translating every single sentence of the movie and was driving us both crazy. This was absolutely not acceptable anywhere but in Dubai. Of course my husband couldn’t handle it. In the middle of the movie, he stood up and shined his phone light in the Chinese man’s face. Standing there with is big arms covered in tattoos her yelled, Hey! You’re not in your living room! If you want to talk all the way through a movie, watch one at home!”
He never made sound for the rest of the movie.
The food you can buy at the cinemas here in Dubai is also kind of strange. All the regular goodies like popcorn, soda and candies are there, but there’s also stuff like chocolate, cheese or mushroom crêpes and cheese and cups or hot corn niblets. Last but not least, almost all cinemas have VIP sections where prices are doubles. One thing my husband likes about the cinemas in Dubai is that when you buy your tickets you choose your seats, something he says they don’t have back in Canada.