Doris Hambuch

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Polyglot films highlight the coexistence of multiple languages at the level of dialogue and narration. Even the notoriously monolingual Hollywood film industry has recently seen an increase in polyglot productions. Much of Europe’s polyglot cinema reflects on post-war migration. Hamid Naficy has coined the phrase “accented cinema” to define diasporic filmmaking, a closely related category. The present essay considers polyglot Emirati films as part of an increasingly popular global genre. It argues that the lack of a monolingual mandate is conducive to experiments with language choices, and that the polyglot genre serves best to emphasize efforts made to accommodate the diversity of cultures interacting in urban centers in the United Arab Emirates. Case studies of Ali F. Mostafa’s From A to B (2014) and Humaid Alsuwaidi’s Abdullah (2015) demonstrate the considerable contributions Emirati filmmakers have already made to a genre, which offers a powerful potential for cinema in the UAE . A comparative analysis identifies the extent to which each of the two films reveals elements inherent in three of the five sub-categories outlined by Chris Wahl.