Christian Von Borries

The Dubai In Me by Christian Von Borries 83 minutes 2010
A rigorous and relentless self-examination underscores this cine essay on the marketplace projection of Dubai. Offering Second Life avatars and Michael Jackson moonwalks as political choreography precursors, the filmmaker shows a hyper-capitalized feudalism. In his hands, Dubai is both a state and a state of mind, it appears behind the camera in terms of tech choice and tripod height, and in front of it as a migratory global underclass of workers who are forever busy offstage. Between the weightless simulations of a city scrubbed clean of its inhabitants – where there is nothing left but the commodification of space – are panoramic postcard views of trucks filled with shit, or hijabbed tourists clutching their shopping dreams. Every picture is framed, and every frame is announced, remarked upon, unpacked. All the money that dreams can buy might be found here, in the twelve hour days of the serving staffs, their passports confiscated, their plane fares recharged at rates that would bring smiles to any loan shark. Like every utopia, the poor will be made to pay for this promised land of new Islamic capitalisms. As the filmmaker remarks, occasionally, between the sustained views of a world that is already a picture, “Global identities laundered here… for those who can afford it.”