Photographs: An Early Album of the World - Film Screenings at Louvre Abu Dhabi

A new film program at Louvre Abu Dhabi curated by me starts this month. It’s part of the museum’s newest exhibition Photographs: An Early Album of the World which is on from April 25 until July 13.

The exhibition includes more than 250 early photos from all around the world dating between mid-late 1800s.

The opening weekend of the exhibition also includes a cine-concert titled In the Land of the Head Hunters with Rodolphe Burger, plus a talk with Christine Barthe, curator of exhibition on April 26.

The film screenings will take place in April and June (there won’t be any screenings in May because of Ramadan). They are free to attend, but you need to register online or collect a ticket at the museum’s ticket desk.

The following is the line up and schedule. If in or near Abu Dhabi, hope you can make it.

In conjunction with the exhibition Photographs: An Early Album of the World, a series of film screenings curated by Hind Mezaina will feature documentaries addressing the role and importance of photography as a tool to document stories and history of the world we live in.

Saturday, April 27th at 5.00pm

Directors: Wim Wenders and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado
2014 | 110 min | Documentary | PG-13 | English


For the last 40 years, the photographer Sebastião Salgado has been travelling through the continents, in the footsteps of an ever-changing humanity. He has witnessed some of the major events of our recent history; international conflicts, starvation and exodus.

He is now embarking on the discovery of pristine territories, of wild fauna and flora, and of grandiose landscapes as part of a huge photographic project, which is a tribute to the planet's beauty.

Sebastião Salgado's life and work are revealed to us by his son, Juliano, who went with him during his last travels, and by Wim Wenders, himself a photographer.


Saturday, June 15th at 5.00pm

Director: Bill Morrison
2017 | 120 min | Documentary | PG-13 | English


This meditation on cinema’s past pieces together the bizarre true history of a long-lost collection of 533 nitrate film prints from the early 1900s. Located just south of the Arctic Circle, Dawson City was settled in 1896 and became the centre of the Canadian Gold Rush that brought 100,000 prospectors to the area. It was also the final stop for a distribution chain that sent prints and newsreels to the Yukon. The films were seldom, if ever, returned.

The now-famous Dawson City Collection was uncovered in 1978 when a bulldozer working its way through a parking lot dug up a horde of film cans. Morrison draws on these permafrost-protected, rare silent films and newsreels, pairing them with archival footage, interviews, historical photographs, and an enigmatic score by Sigur Rós collaborator and composer Alex Somers.

Dawson City: Frozen Time depicts the unique history of this Canadian Gold Rush town by chronicling the life cycle of a singular film collection through its exile, burial, rediscovery, and salvation.

The film screening is courtesy of Hypnotic Pictures and Picture Palace Pictures.


Saturday, June 22nd

Director: Jennifer Baichwal
2006 | 90 min | Documentary | PG-13 | English

Manufactured Landscapes_Film Still.jpg

Manufactured Landscapes is a feature length documentary on the world and work of renowned artist Edward Burtynsky.

Burtynsky makes large-scale photographs of 'manufactured landscapes' – quarries, recycling yards, factories, mines, dams. He photographs civilization’s materials and debris, but in a way people describe as "stunning" or "beautiful," and so raises all kinds of questions about ethics and aesthetics without trying to easily answer them.

The film follows Burtynsky to China as he travels the country photographing the evidence and effects of that country's massive industrial revolution. Sites such as the Three Gorges Dam, which is bigger by 50% than any other dam in the world and displaced over a million people, factory floors over a kilometre long, and the breathtaking scale of Shanghai's urban renewal are subjects for his lens and our motion picture camera.

Shot in Super-16mm film, Manufactured Landscapes extends the narrative streams of Burtynsky's photographs, allowing us to meditate on our profound impact on the planet and witness both the epicentres of industrial endeavour and the dumping grounds of its waste. What makes the photographs so powerful is his refusal in them to be didactic. We are all implicated here, they tell us: there are no easy answers. The film continues this approach of presenting complexity, without trying to reach simplistic judgements or reductive resolutions. In the process, it tries to shift our consciousness about the world and the way we live in it.


Saturday, June 29th

Directors: Binnur Karaevli, Fatih Kaymak
2015 | 61 min | Documentary | Turkish with English subtitles


The Eye of Istanbul tells the story of Ara Guler (1928-2018) the legendary Armenian-Turkish photographer, through a culmination of his retrospective exhibition in Istanbul.

Filmed a few years before his death, we see Ara selecting his photographs for his retrospective exhibition in Istanbul. The stories behind his most iconic images spring to life.

Ara Guler is a complex and unforgettable character and in the film he appears sharp, irreverent, funny and philosophical. Although he is mostly recognized for his black and white photographs of Istanbul, he has enjoyed an international career, which has spanned over sixty years and has generated more than 1 million photographs.

Ara's artistic process, his resourcefulness and fearlessness are revealed through a nonlinear narrative in the film.