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Mirrors of Silence is one of the films competing for the Muhr Awards in the short film competition. It is by the Emirati director Nawaf Al-Janahi, who possesses an eye-catching cinematographic experience. Nawaf was born in February 1977 in the capital of the UAE, Abu Dhabi, and studied the arts of cinema in the USA. Since 1999 he worked in the directing department in Abu Dhabi Television. He started his journey with film directing in 2002 to produce up to date four films. The first of which was Obsession, then followed by two films, On a Road and Souls, to end them by the short film Mirrors of Silence which brings up the concept of solitude in the vast modern city, and wonders whether it is possible to break through the sufferings that are besieged within blocks of cement.

 

In Nawaf’s films, care about the beauty of the picture is highlighted, together with the stark concepts and artistic expression in concentrated symbolic methods that make of these films a differentiating and exceptional land-mark in the Emirati Cinema.

 

:: Reja Sayer Al-Mutairi - Journalist

Excerpt from "Names From Dubai 2006"

Al-Riyadh Newspaper / 7 December 2006

 


 

I could not believe my eye. On the screen, a solitary young man who has not reached the 30th year of his life, struck by glass obstructions, metallic obstructions or ceramic obstructions wherever he turns to. Whenever he wanted to break out of this captivity, new obstructions faced his eyes. He runs away to alcohol, but it did not solve his crisis. He goes out into the streets, only to find out that he is not but a little drop lost among the skyscrapers.

 

It is the consumable society; while he is the youth who picks up through his consciousness the elements of the place. This is the film Mirrors of Silence by director Nawaf Al-Janahi.

 

Once again, I could not believe my eyes, while joy fills my heart. What is really surprising is that Nawaf Al-Janahi was not the only Emirati who reached the real function of the Camera. At the Ismailia International Film Festival for Documentary and Short Films, president of the festival, the artistically committed critic, Ali Abu Shadi, made a point to introduce a comprehensive panorama of the film production in the United Arab Emirates. About 12 films were screened. Not all of them were pure cinema like Mirrors of Silence. This first generation of Emirati directors were heading towards the milieu surrounding them.

 

:: Sobhy Shafeeq - Film Critic

Excerpt from "Papers from 10th Ismailia Film Festival"

Al-Kahera Newspaper / 10 October 2006

 


 

In his last film production by the title Mirrors of Silence, director Nawaf Al-Janahi shows what we may call the poetic and philosophic hymn of extreme solitude the artist lives within the grid of barren cities that are taken away from friendliness and communication. The film was shot in black and white, the color that the angels see according to the famous German director Wim Wenders. And through these two absolute neutral colors the character of the film, played by Nawaf Al-Janahi himself, wanders within a complete system of monitored high cement detention camps that are like fierce and suffocating fences. This state of limitations and suppression alternate in all the possible locations for survival and movement. From the dark room into the streets crowded by pale faces, passing by the café full with humane ghosts till it reaches the nightmarish backstage of the theatre where this shattered character works. These falling decors represent what looks like a repeating siege of the movement of the monotonous and vanquished life from which all joy has been taken away. In one of the expressive shots, the artist’s room is filled with balloons, and the scene itself is filled with the natural colors. However, in the end we discover that the colors melt again in the dead whiteness and painful blackness. In another scene we see the character celebrating its destruction by a solitary candle and a cup overflowing with dark silence. Even the mirrors that are supposed to reflect the character’s face are seen as if they are absorbing and stealing what remained of the hope and resistance to exit from this intellectual damaging suffocation.

 

 

Mirrors of Silence is, after all, a visual research and a provocative question about the internal labyrinth of the artist, and about the huge negligence that is eating his soul, like crevices and cracks eat up every expected celebration of a tree deserted to its fate, and its frivolous existence in a vast desert of dismissal and denial.

 

:: Ibrahim Al-Mulla - Scriptwriter and Journalist

Excerpt from "Faradees presents its films in Favor of the image"

Al-Ittihad Newspaper / 13 April 2006

 


 

In his film Souls, director Nawaf Al-Janahi discussed, by means of concentrated cinematic language, the problem of estrangement from the other, even within the one household, and the incapacity of communicating with him. The shot is central in a fixed view on a chair that reminds us of the chair of accusation in the courts. Stillness is the nature of the shot; the character is what moves around within the circle of light besieged by darkness. As soon as the character starts its presence trying to say a greeting in order to communicate with the other, we see that it is confronted with bullets, as a symbol of absence of any chance for dialogue. Perhaps the child is the only character that was not cancelled, may be for the reason that it is still incapable of taking its own decision that allows it to sit and make dialogue. Most probably it shall not be prepared to communicate, but , due to its frail experience, it is ready for adjustment and obedience. In Souls the idea is clear, and the execution, as much as it was in its utmost simplicity, was eloquent and deeply evincing a productive mind that knows how to mix, formulate and pick up ideas from everywhere. Nawaf Al-Janahi is a future innovative project that must be fostered and given due support and work opportunities to execute his visions and thoughts.

 

:: Awatif Naeem - Critic and Playwright

Excerpt from "Reviews on Emirati Films"

Al-Khaleej Newspaper / 5 July 2004

 


 

Nawaf Al-Janahi who has studied cinema in USA and lives within an artistic family atmosphere, if he is given the chance to produce feature films, he will stamp them with different sensitive and an unquestionable argument which he has proven in his film On a Road, which is a short film by all standards. It is distinguished by its concentrated and sharp idea, an idea vast enough to contain various interpretations that were incorporated by a host of delicate expressive tools. The most important part of all is the absence of talking.

 

On a Road gives the image and the sound their importance in expression and communication, and the use of Black & White makes of it an imaginary adventure that is nearer to day-dreaming. A low cost film, we may say that it is a "homemade" film that makes us wonder: Are we really doing our best?

 

:: Salah Sermini - Film Critic

Cinema Books 2004, vol. 8 (Emirates Film Competition / 2003 Documents)

 


 

Nawaf Al-Janahi's On a Road (which received a Special Jury Prize) is a slight film, but the young director has real style and, as Maklouf (EFC 2003 Jury president) notes, his work was definitely cinema, rather than video.

 

:: Antonia Carver - Writer, Editor, and Film Consultant

Time Out Abu Dhabi - April 2003

 


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