Young Emirati filmmaker and American University of Sharjah student Sarah Alagroobi introduces herself to the regional film scene with an enticing short movie that is sure to make an impression.
The Forbidden Fruit, which cleverly studies the undertones and conflicting values of modern Emirati society, will make its premier at this year’s Dubai International Film Festival in the Muhr Emirati section.
Alagroobi, who directed, wrote, produced, edited and did everything short of putting herself in the film, said of the experience, “I’ve always been fascinated with the ‘inside scoop’ on what’s happening behind closed doors in Emirati society. My mother always said ‘what’s kept in the dark will always come to light’.” And that’s what this film is about, bringing a delicate topic to light.
The Forbidden Fruit is unlike other Emirati films in that it exposes an aspect of a culture so remarkably polished that people might never see it for themselves. The film is based around two young Emirati adults, Alia and Rashed, who live in a modernized society that is still very much absorbed in its traditions and cultures. Viewers follow Alia and Rashed as they go about their lives carelessly partying, drinking and having a good time. Their choice to surrender to the westernized lifestyle their city offers leaves them unaware that tradition has yet to relinquish its influence on molding the outcome of their lives.
“It’s really important to glorify the good qualities, but to also have the others. Why is there such a strong stigma of trying to be pure? It’s less of a traditional thing and more of a social issue: maintaining the richness in our blood,” says Alagroobi,” torn between the duality of Islam and pop culture.”
A unique vision coupled with inimitable cinematography makes this an enjoyable, conscious undertaking by a young filmmaker sure to cause a stir. And keeping in the spirit of the artform, it is kept simple and to the point, leaving the viewer wanting more.