Expat Life Takes Center Stage in New UAE Documentary

20150605-12627723853_8376029fcb_k-880x490With a population of 7.8 million expatriate workers in a country of 9.2 million, the United Arab Emirates is a nation of foreigners.

And new UAE documentary, “A Place Called Home,” focuses on this reality, following five expats who live and work in the country. The subjects include a Serbian air hostess, a Bangladeshi businessman, an Indian laborer, a Filipina teacher’s aide and an Indian rigger.

The documentary, commissioned by Abu Dhabi Media, was shot across five countries and seeks to portray the UAE as a land of opportunity. Although heartwarming at times, one cannot help but think that it is aimed at dissuading claims that migrant workers are treated unfairly in the Emirates.

Although the film doesn’t shy away from the sad reality of migrant workers in UAE – mentioning that a few of the subjects haven’t seen their children in years – the documentary certainly paints the country in a positive light. At least one portion of the film that focuses on the life of a Serbian expat who works for Etihad Airways seems like a commercial for the airline, while many of the interviewees speak at length about how much they love the Emirates and how safe the country is.

Despite being overly positive about the UAE, the documentary does succeed in showcasing the life of residents who have moved to the Emirates for purely economic reasons, born out of hardship in their home countries. If anything, it is an interesting, if highly-circumscribed, portrait of the nation.



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