Military movies promotion of national belonging “Al Kameen” is a model

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It is well known that military movies are the type of movies that are concerned with dealing with wars and related topics‭, ‬such‭ ‬as prisoners of war‭, ‬secret and public military operations‭, ‬as well as military exercises and the daily life of soldiers or civilians in time of war‭. ‬The movies may be based on a novel‭, ‬a true historical story‭, ‬or a biography of a military figure‭, ‬and the‭ ‬movie may be a military documentary‭.‬

Among the most important goals of military movies is to strengthen the patriotic spirit‭, ‬patriotism‭, ‬affiliation‭, ‬social solidarity and the development of social capital‭, ‬especially for new generations who are exposed on a daily basis to other types of drama that may have negative effects on them‭.‬

Preserving and strengthening national identity requires many means‭, ‬including the production of military movies to enhance social capital‭, ‬which has become of paramount importance in an era in which identities and cultures are targeted in an unprecedented‭ ‬way‭, ‬and the consequent negative effects on the social fabric and national culture of many Arab societies‭. ‬

These movies‭, ‬through their ability to shape the conscience of individuals‭, ‬contribute to the formation and promotion of social‭ ‬capital and its corporate values and enhance its positive role in society‭. ‬Among the most important of these values‭: ‬the ability‭ ‬to work collectively‭, ‬the values of trust between individuals‭, ‬and between them and between different institutions‭, ‬governmental and non-governmental‭, ‬and trust between the individual and the state‭, ‬the values of cooperation and solidarity‭, ‬the values that promote a sense of social responsibility‭, ‬and the values that uphold the cohesion of the social fabric and enhance the moral values and standards that push the members of society towards solidarity and cooperation‭, ‬and reinforce the values of loyalty and‭ ‬belonging‭, ‬which are the essence of national identity‭.‬

The world between past‭ & ‬present

The movie‭ ‬“The Birth of a Nation”‭ ‬by David Griffiths‭, ‬produced in 1915‭, ‬is considered the first military movie in the history of world cinema‭. ‬Then‭, ‬those movies‭ ‬increased after the First World War‭, ‬and most of them were mainly aimed at propaganda for the American army and the demonization of the hostile armies‭. ‬Many of these movies have become landmarks in American national life‭, ‬such as George Cohan’s movie‭ “‬There‭”, ‬which continues to sing his lead song‭ “‬Hold Your Gun‭” ‬to soldiers in the United States until now on several occasions‭.‬

And when the United States of America needed to enact laws requiring every young American to enter military service during the World War‭, ‬movies such as‭ “‬Recruit Buck‭”, “‬In the Navy‭” ‬and‭ “‬Keep Flying‭” ‬were produced to justify this idea‭.‬

After the end of the Second World War‭, ‬the cinema of military movies began to develop‭, ‬and it began by presenting issues of heroism‭, ‬sacrifice and serving the country in addition to adventure‭, ‬courage and heroism‭, ‬such as‭ ‬“The Best Years of Our Lives”‭ ‬1946‭, ‬“The Commander’s Decision”‭ ‬1948‭, ‬“Battlefield”‭ ‬1949‭ ‬and‭ ‬“Land of the Braves”‭ ‬1949‭ ‬and‭ “‬Navaron’s Weapons‭” ‬1961‭. ‬Over time‭, ‬Hollywood cinema reached a degree of progress and high craftsmanship‭, ‬starting with movies such as‭ “‬The Thin Red Thread‭” ‬and passing through movies such as‭ “‬Rambo‭” ‬and‭ “‬Saving Private Ryan‭” ‬directed by Steven‭ ‬Spielberg to movies such as‭ “‬American Sniper‭”. ‬

On the Chinese side‭, ‬the military movie‭ “‬Zhan Lang 2‭” ‬broke all records of success‭, ‬which was produced in 2017‭, ‬to coincide with‭ ‬the celebration of the year of the 90th anniversary of the establishment of the Red Army‭, ‬and tells the adventures of a former‭ ‬member of the Chinese special forces in a war zone in Africa‭.‬

Since Vladimir Putin came to power in 1999‭, ‬Russian cinema has been seeking‭, ‬on the one hand‭, ‬to restore the prestige of its army‭, ‬and on the other hand‭, ‬to confront the declining sense of patriotism of young people and their desire to participate in mass‭ ‬events‭. ‬To this end‭, ‬in April 2019‭, ‬Russia launched the Pobeda‭ (‬Victory‭) ‬channel‭, ‬which targets young people and broadcasts movies throughout the day praising the heroism of the army through showing movies‭, ‬such as‭ ‬“Tanks for Stalin”‭. ‬On the French side‭, ‬military cinema has not stopped flourishing since World War II‭, ‬and the army contributes to making military movies and even writing scripts for some of those movies‭, ‬but the most important thing it offers is the shooting locations and‭ ‬the military equipment needed for production‭, ‬as the French say‭: ‬“No tank will look like a real tank‭.‬”‭ ‬

On the Arab level‭, ‬many military movies were produced in Egypt‭, ‬especially after the glorious October War‭, ‬such as The Bullet is‭ ‬Still in My Pocket‭ (‬1974‭), ‬Sons of Silence‭ (‬1974‭), ‬Great Loyalty‭ (‬1974‭), ‬Badour‭ (‬1974‭), ‬Life is a Moment‭ (‬1978‭), ‬Execution of a‭ ‬Deadman‭ (‬1985‭), ‬Tales of the Stranger‭ (‬1992‭), ‬The Road to Eilat‭ (‬1993‭), ‬The Day of Dignity‭ (‬2004‭), ‬these movies have evolved and reached a high degree of quality with newly produced movies such as The Cousins‭ (‬2009‭) ‬and The Passageway‭ (‬2019‭).‬

“Al Kameen”‭ ‬movie‭: ‬the message and the indications of timing

In this context‭, ‬we can say that the Emirati military cinema was born giant by producing the movie Al Kameen at a cost of 128.5‭ ‬million dirhams‭, ‬and its duration is 109‭ ‬minutes‭. ‬It is a joint production between‭ ‬“Image Nation Abu Dhabi”‭ ‬and‭ ‬“AGC International‭.‬”‭ ‬“Al Kameen‭ (‬The Ambush‭)‬”‭ ‬is the largest Arabic-language movie production in the Gulf Cooperation Council region‭, ‬and all its scenes were in the Emirates‭, ‬specifically in Ras Al Khaimah‭, ‬in a remote mountainous location‭, ‬simulating the location of the event in Yemen‭. ‬Work on it took about two years‭, ‬as filming began in February 2020‭.‬

More than 400‭ ‬moviemakers and crew participated in the movie‭, ‬led by the famous director Pierre Morel‭, ‬director of the movies‭ “‬Town‭” ‬and‭ “‬District B13‭”, ‬and producer‭ “‬Derek Dauchi‭”, ‬producer of the movie‭ “‬Frank‭”.‬

Stein‭, ‬producer Jennifer Roth‭, ‬producer of the movie‭ “‬Black Swan‭”, ‬along with the Emirati soldiers with whom the movie’s story took place on the ground‭, ‬such as Colonel Muhammad Al Mazrouei‭, ‬commander of the mission to rid the soldiers of Al Kameen‭, ‬and the heroes of UAE promising actors who were assigned the main roles in the movie‭, ‬among them‭: ‬Marwan Abdullah Saleh‭, ‬Khalifa Al-Jassem‭, ‬Muhammad Ahmed‭, ‬and Muhaira Abdulaziz‭.‬

The events of the movie revolve around real events that occurred in the winter of 2018‭ ‬for some Emirati forces that were tasked‭ ‬with providing humanitarian aid to the Yemeni people‭, ‬to which false information was received that landed them in an ambush inside a mountain valley‭, ‬under the siege of the Houthi rebels‭. ‬This led to the death of a soldier and the injury of others‭. ‬The movie reviews in detail the epic that tells how the officers of the Emirati forces moved to get their colleagues out of Al Kameen in a dangerous mission of its kind‭, ‬risking their lives to be able to save their colleagues‭.‬

On the one hand‭, ‬the movie succeeded in conveying the heroism of the soldiers in a brilliant way that required suspense and excitement from the beginning to the end‭, ‬and on the other hand‭, ‬in raising the feeling of the people of the Emirates with pride in‭ ‬their heroes who put their lives on the line for the sake of their homeland and in order to establish its noble values‭, ‬through‭ ‬scenes full of these values‭, ‬including Brotherhood‭, ‬national unity‭, ‬sacrifice‭, ‬and sacrifice for the sake of the homeland‭. ‬Thus‭,‬‭ ‬the movie will immortalize that epic in the memory of the two emirates through generations‭.‬

The movie was also able to present the strength and professionalism of the UAE army‭, ‬its possession of the latest advanced weapons‭, ‬and the valor of its armed forces in Yemen‭, ‬and within the Decisive Storm‭, ‬which‭, ‬as stated by the diplomatic advisor to the‭ ‬President of the United Arab Emirates‭, ‬Anwar Gargash‭, ‬deserves a lot of literature and cinematic and dramatic works to tell their heroic stories and sacrifices‭.‬

It is noteworthy that the movie‭ “‬Ambush‭” ‬came out in late November and early December‭, ‬at a time between Martyr’s Day and the fiftieth Union Day‭, ‬which represents an important sign of the symbolism of the movie’s release at that time‭. ‬Which makes us say that Al Kameen movie embodied sociological theories in promoting national belonging‭, ‬such as Brown’s‭ ” ‬Map of the arts benefits‭ “,‬‭ ‬McCarthy’s‭ “‬social revitalization‭” ‬theory and Azevedo’s‭ “‬Public repercussions or resonance‭”, ‬by promoting social capital that plays a key role in building collective action and strengthening and consolidating the foundations of harmony within society‭.‬

Al Kameen movie hashtag‭ #, ‬the social networking site‭ “‬Twitter‭”, ‬has achieved more than‭ “‬15‭ ‬million‭” ‬views around the world on the day of its premiere‭. ‬Through the hashtag‭, ‬tweeters expressed their pride in their soldiers who sacrificed their lives in order to defend their convictions and defend the lofty values they learned in Emirati society‭, ‬such as brotherhood‭, ‬courage‭, ‬sacrifice and patriotism‭.‬

Many of the tweeters expressed how Al Kameen movie affected them‭, ‬and one of them said‭: “‬Al Kameen is an impressive and wonderful Emirati movie that immortalizes the memory of our martyrs in Yemen war‭… ‬I was very affected by this work‭… ‬This type of work that writes the sacrifices of our soldiers deserves to be immortalized‭.”‬

Finally‭, ‬in his book‭ ‬“The Political Formation of the Arabs and the Significance of the Qatari State‭,‬”‭ ‬Muhammad Jaber Al-Ansari says that the State that did not fight is an incomplete State‭, ‬and we can say here that the State that‭ ‬fought and its cinemas did not record the heroism of its soldiers is a cinema that was not yet born‭. ‬We can say that Al Kameen‭ ‬movie chronicled the birth of the giant Emirati military cinema‭, ‬after its production of the movie‭ “‬Khorfakkan 1507‭”, ‬which was‭ ‬adapted from the historical book‭ “‬Khorfakkan Resistance to the Portuguese Invasion‭ – ‬September 1507‭” ‬by His Highness Sheikh Dr‭. ‬Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi‭, ‬which was presented in November 2020‭, ‬and presented the epic of the Emirati people’s resistance to the Portuguese invasion‭, ‬which was seeking to control the shores of the city of Khorfakkan in the sixteenth century AD‭.‬

The UAE‭, ‬which did not witness the production of a local movie except in 1988‭, ‬which is the movie‭ ‬“Passerby”‭ ‬directed by Ali Al-Abdoul‭, ‬has been able over the past years to make confident steps in terms of the number of movies produced‭,‬‭ ‬their contents and their artistic level‭, ‬because of its belief that cinema‭, ‬especially the military one‭, ‬is a cultural industry‭, ‬systematic and effective‭, ‬and its effects are evident in shaping the intellectual‭, ‬psychological‭, ‬emotional‭, ‬temperamental‭, ‬religious and value dimensions of a large segment of individuals‭.


Prof‭. ‬Dr‭. ‬Wael Saleh‭ (‬Senior researcher and head of knowledge trends follow-up unit at‭ ‬TRENDS Research and Advisory‭)‬

Al Jundi

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