The Other Face Of Dubai: The Workers
Documentary with little to none commitment to creating change:
Champ of the Camp is a documentary that debuted in Dubai's International Film Festival on December 2013. It was directed by Lebanese born Mahmoud Kaabour. This new documentary seeks to portray everyday life in thirteen of the most controversial labor camps of the United Emirates Estates. This documentary takes a different spin at portraying life in labor camps. The documentary looks at the singing competitions that take place in the labor camps. These singing competitions are organized, ran, and performed by workers in the camp. The purpose of these signing competitions are to create a space by workers for workers where they can express themselves, and at the same time enjoy some time away from the labor exploitation they experience on a daily basis. The director says that one of the greatest surprises in the movie are the moments of camaraderie. Kaabour says that he was interested in capturing the life in the camps through people's narratives, and to showcase that not all moments in the camps "are as sad and gritty as you can imagine." When the singing competition first began seven years ago it had 30 contestants, three years later it had 3,000. The competition that the film documents had 7,000 people participants. Kaabour says that the competition is a "narrative of thousands of men who left their homes, to fly here, and help it grow." The director hopes that after people see this film they will be able to have a more rounded view of the city, and how it was built. However, the director is a bit problematic as he says he welcomes any positive changes or awareness to Dubai's labor camps but is not interested in judging the morality or standards of the camps. Although, Kaabour is showcasing the labor camps in Dubai he fails to take a stance against the labor exploitation found in the camps. Thus, it may be argued that he helps to feed into the exploitation of the workers.
By: Thania Lucero
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