American comedy in Dubai

Guardian Unlimited

Middle Eastern settings are unsurprisingly writ large over the lineup of the second Dubai Film Festival this weekend. The Film festival, which has livened up the Gulf city’s cultural life, is seen as a venue for new filmmakers to present their often quite challenging fare to audiences of considerable ethic diversity.

Top of the bill is Albert Brooks’s satirical Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World, in which Brooks plays a man sent to Pakistan at the behest of the US Administration to forge a more harmonious post-911 world. Although the film sends up US policy and American ignorance about the region and its inhabitants, Brooks told Reuters news agency that its eye-catching title had caused Sony to pass on distribution rights for fear of arousing Muslim suspicion and reprisals.

Also screening are the Israeli-Palestinian co-production and drama Paradise Now, and a documentary about the Christian Lebanese Forces militia that slaughtered Palestinian refugees in 1982.