It was three years ago this month that the Louvre Abu Dhabi opened its doors, making it the largest art museum on the Arabian Peninsula, a goliath that aimed to bridge the gap between Eastern and Western art.
Not without its controversies (the Louvre in Paris has made almost $1.3 billion out of the deal), the museum sits as a centrepiece of an ambitious cultural district being formed on Saadiyat Island, one that will also be home to the planned Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Abu Dhabi in 2023.
Housing a collection that is 35,000-deep, it’s a monumental feature of Abu Dhabi, whichever way look at it. To mark its three-year run, the museum has released a quite spectacular and fittingly cinematic original film, titled ‘The Pulse of Time’, and have recruited some pretty familiar names (or voices) for the 40-minute piece’s narration. On the English version, British veteran actor, Charles Dance (who many will know as Tywin Lannister from Game of Thrones) takes viewers on a winding trip through history, told through the museum’s various collections and exhibitions. An Arabic version of the film puts Emirati actor and TV presenter, Saoud Al Kaabi, in the VO booth, while French actress, Irène Jacob (a Cannes Best Actress award winner), takes the reigns on a French version.
The sound design is just as engrossing as the visuals, with French radio veterans, Alexandre Plank and Antoine Richard, taking the lead, while French composer and musician, Jonathan Morali, produced a sweeping original score for the film. It was Mohamed Somji who arguably had the toughest task as the director charged with bring to life a script developed by French author and playwright, Stéphane Michaka.
While some will process it as a promotional video that’s 39 minutes too long, the film very much feeds into the aforementioned aim of bridging the gap between the art of the East and West, tying strands of history together to, as the Louvre Abu Dhabi says, “show that we, as humans, have more in common than we know.”
Check out the all three versions below.