NHNew Horizons / Afaq Jadida Competition
Sea ShadowOriginal Title: Dhil al Bahr
Director: Nawaf Al-Janahi
United Arab Emirates | Arabic
Director Nawaf Al-Janahi continues to raise the profile of UAE cinema with his latest work. In this charmingly low-key follow-up to his 2009 debut feature The Circle
(one of the first by an Emirati to receive international attention), Al-Janahi combines a nostalgic tone with genuine cultural insight. Sea Shadow
is an endearing coming-of-age story about family, first love and the deeply rooted values of the region. The first feature from ImageNation Abu Dhabi to be made in the UAE by an Emirati director (the film was shot in Ras Al Khaimah), it signals the coming-of-age of filmmaking in the capital.
From a small seaside community in all the way to Abu Dhabi, the story follows two teenagers who commence a journey of self-discovery after their life is shaken by misunderstandings, mix-ups and poor decisions. Small-town boy Mansoor (Omar Al Mulla) has strong feelings for his neighbor, Kaltham (Neven Madi). But culture and convention, as well as family hardship, make it difficult for him to express himself openly. When his know-it-all friend Sultan (Abrar Al Hamad) convinces him that a gift is the best way to express his love, Mansoor looks for ways to save money without arousing the suspicion of his family. Bound by deeply rooted values, this pair must find the courage to forge their own paths.
With a simple story unfolding at a gentle pace, Al-Janahi creates a longing for a time when life was more about community than materialism. The work of an intriguing new voice in a largely untapped region, Sea Shadow
examines how values are prioritized in modern society, and how human connections are made.
–Intishal Al Timimi