Archive for Obama

And the oscars go to?

Posted in Oscars with tags , , , , , on January 28, 2009 by jacquesrenault

One of the beauties of film is that it provides some kind of insight in to the key events, beliefs or shifts in trends of that particular time.   Most obviously, at times of war, films relating to that subject will spike.  If you look back at the 70s and the surge in the Vietnam films, it’s very clear that Americas participation in the war had had a deep effect on the psyche of the American people and that had a knock on effect with the films being produced.



Being January and with not a huge amount to do in Dubai, I’ve been getting through a fair old few of the last 12 months selections.  So, what does this and last years’ offerings say about the world we are living in?  If you look at some of the films up for Oscars, you get a distinct feeling of hopelessness, lack of optimism and deep reflection.  The Wrestler (Aronofsky, Mickey rourke) deals with the demise of a failed 1980s wrestler, Revolutionary Road(Sam Mendes, Kate Winslet) looks at the death of dreams of a young couple in small time America, The Visitor explores the world of a middle aged American man who feels lost in his life in New York.  As seen through the eyes of these films, we see an America that is on its last legs, that has accepted that it can’t regain the hope and positivity of a by- gone era.  Even historical films such as Frost/Nixon(Ron Howard, Martin Sheen)  and Che (Soderburgh, Benicio del Torro) equally deal with issues of American history that aren’t that favourable to the superpower of the last 50 or so years.

You can’t help noticing SlumDog Millionaire (Boyle) though.  The one truely buoyant and positive film to be nominated for best picture is about India and not America.  It tells a rags to riches tale set in the booming city of Mumbai.  It’s hard to not draw the conclusion that the economic and social shift from West (America) to East (India and China) is being reflected in various ways in the films we watch.


The world is changing. Where does this leave Dubai?

Posted in Dubai with tags , , , on January 21, 2009 by jacquesrenault


In the land of sand we may be feeling the tremors of change that are beginning to reverberate around the world after Barack Obama’s inaugaration, but what will soon be apparent is that the shift in the pysche of the America led western nations could well be seismic.

Obama is ushering in an era at the beginning of the 21st century that aims to offer something that is very different from what we have seen in the past 100 or more years.  The 20th century was  dominated by notions of size.  Vast skyscrapers, huge dominating banks, corporations as powerful as political parties.  Obama has become the symbol of bringing in an era that realises that in order for the world to survive socially and economically, it needs a completely new approach.  What is required is to be more nimble, more stealth like, more thoughtful and considerate as opposed to just simply big and powerful. 

Where on earth does this leave the c**k waving emirate?  A city that boasts having the biggest and tallest of almost everything that has ever existed.   All the huge malls, cloud touching skyscrapers, sprawling fun parks, vast aquariums feel distinctly last century.  I’m not going to be the one to tell him, but if you look at the shifting attitudes in Europe,  the US as well as other parts of the world,  Sheikh Mohammed would have to completely rethink the vision of the city,  if it is really going to be considered as a metropolis of the upcoming century.