It is a story about having everything, but when everything never seems to be quite enough. The Philosopher is a film that could easily leave audiences intrigued.
The first film to be directed by the young Emirati filmmaker, Abdulla Al Kaabi, it follows the journey of a successful retired footballer, played by award-winning French actor Jean Reno (The Pink Panther, Godzilla, The Da Vinci Code, Mission: Impossible, Ronin) who decides to give up the luxuries of life to become a philosopher. On his journey, he meets new friends as stumbles across new challenges in an effort to survive.
The Philosopher—which is an adaptation of a novel by British author, Charlie Fish—was shot in Paris in early 2010 with more than 80 cast and crewmembers.
Mr. Kaabi summed up the main character’s experience in a snappy phrase: “His high life was his low life.” And so, Mr. Kaabi, speaking at a Technology Entertainment and Design conference in Ajman, talked to an audience about how he came to be the director of a film that has been nominated 22 times worldwide, including for the Tribeca film Festival—and is the recipient of three awards.
“I seized the opportunity,” the 23-year-old Mr. Kaabi said. “I was once asked what I wanted to be. When I said ‘a film director,’ I knew it was a passion.”
Mr. Kaabi moved to Paris in 2009 to pursue a Master’s Degree in Filmmaking and a career in cinema.
At the conference, Mr. Kaabi told the audience: “Following your passion may be the hardest option, but it is the most rewarding.”
The film received the three awards for Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, and an Award of Merit at the LA Cinema Festival of Hollywood. It was also nominated at the London International Documentary Festival and the Kurz Film Festival in Frankfurt.
The Philosopher was one of the films screened for the Muhr Emirati competition organized by the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) in October 2010.
“We are very happy to see more and more Emirati names make their way into the international industry and do very well for themselves,” Masoud Amr Allah Al Ali, DIFF’s artistic director told Gulf News in October last year.
“We are confident Abdullah Al Kaabi is a rising talent and we believe his impressive short will inspire and encourage many others,” he added.
A Franco-Emirati feature film is also in the works for Mr. Kaabi, which is to be produced by the Dubai-based Oursinfilms production company.
(Eman El Shenawi of Al Arabiya can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)