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Films

NMoQ commissioned films from a select group of distinguished international directors to create living, immersive experiences in the exhibition galleries. 

Produced by the Doha Film Institute, the films are projected at immense scale and with hypnotic clarity against the curving walls of the galleries, making the physical walls dissolve into moving spectacles of light, sound and image. 

The Beginnings, 2018

If the National Museum of Qatar were a river, this first gallery would be the source: the place where it begins, where time starts, where history and knowledge are born. The Beginnings takes you on a journey through the marvels of space and time, revealing Earth as it was hundreds of millions of years ago and the origins of Qatar today.
Director: Christophe Cheysson
Produced by Doha Film Institute

Land and Sea, 2017

Land and Sea journeys across Qatar’s landscapes and seascapes, discovering and capturing a series of unique and diverse habitats and species. From the unobstructed horizon of the desert, with dunes blanketed by a layer of clouds disrupted only by the flow of wind carrying the sand grains over the canyons and through time, to the fertile rawdhas of the winter. Diving into the deepest parts of the sea, and rising with the break of dawn, the film leaves no hidden places nor species, promising the visitor a magical adventure.
Directors: Jaques Perrin, Christophe Cheysson
Produced by Doha Film Institute

Archaeology, 2017

Jananne Al-Ani’s film takes the form of an aerial journey across the Qatari landscape, searching for and exposing a range of sites and habitats which reveal the hidden history of human occupation, from the early hunter-gatherer lifestyle of the Paleolithic and Neolithic periods to increased settlement from the Bronze Age onwards. The film combines aerial footage of archaeological sites with high-resolution close-up images of a selection of artefacts on show in the gallery taken by Levon Biss, from stone cutting tools and arrowheads to fragments of pottery and metalwork. The film moves back and forth between the macroscopic and the microscopic, mirroring the shifting perspective of the archaeologist: carrying out aerial surveys in order to locate archaeological sites before beginning the painstaking process of excavation.
Director: Jananne Al-Ani
Produced by Doha Film Institute

Life in Al Barr (Desert), 2017

Life in Al Barr (Desert) highlights the close relationships between families and communities in the Northern Desert of Qatar between the 1950s to the 1960s, by reimagining a day in the life of a Qatari family. The film brings to life the harmonious connection between humans, animals and changing seasons. The birth of a baby camel signals the start of the winter season and the arrival of a new family to join the settlement. The women of the family set up the tent in a location of their choice. The child plays close by, before joining her father in grazing the cattle. The father unloads the luggage from the camels’ back. The dog and the falcon watch eagerly. The neighbours come to visit and welcome. Everyone has a role to play. Everyone is happy to contribute.
Director: Abderrahmane Sissako
Produced by Doha Film Institute

Al Zubarah, 2017

Al Zubarah tells the story of life in the old coastal city of Al Zubarah, one of Qatar’s most significant historical sites. From the break of dawn and the echo of morning prayer, the director, Abderrahmane Sissako travels with his audience through the alleys of the old city, into mosques, courtyards and markets, mapping the traditions and daily lives of one nation in a changing world. Goods are seen arriving on dhows from the sea and on camel caravans from the desert – through capturing a day in the life of the city the film articulates how a country became a global port with international visitors. The crisp clear pictures brushed with a special painting-effect across the film makes it feel timeless and eternal.
Director: Abderrahmane Sissako
Produced by Doha Film Institute

Nafas (Breath), 2014

Nafas (Breath) tells the story of pearl divers and the hardships they endured to bring home a seasonal income, a story beautifully told through the parallel journey of a couple brought together on land and separated for months by the sea. A man leaves behind his pregnant wife at the beginning of the pearling season to join the men of the tribe on a new adventure which will take them diving to the deepest beds of the sea, looking for the best pearls. Months pass… Children grow… Seasons change. The sea proves generous. It sends loved ones home.
Director: Mira Nair
Produced by Doha Film Institute

Shadows of History, 2018

In a gorgeous poetic manner, Shadows of History awakens figures of the past to re-capture a story that contributed to the founding of the state of Qatar. The film depicts the story of a man who united tribes under one flag to create a nation; a people that became one in order to defeat an enemy marching towards them from the south. With an occasional use of beautiful silhouettes inspired by shadow theatre, Shadows of History provokes curiosity while providing an insightful experience leaving the visitor in awe.
Director: Peter Webber
Produced by Doha Film Institute

The Coming of Oil, 2017

The Coming of Oil is a multi-channel installation that explores the layered geological depths of the land and the historical legacy brought by the discovery of oil, a turning point in the history and development of present-day Qatar.
Director: Doug Aitken
Produced by Doha Film Institute

Alchemy, 2019

To change the world you must have vision, courage and the will to succeed. With what appears to be alchemy – but is actually a blend of pioneering science, innovative investment and intense dedication – the vision of the Father Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, has become a reality. John Sanborn’s Alchemy celebrates the remarkable daring and enormous benefits of Qatar’s development of Liquid Natural Gas as a resource for the world.  The work conveys the beauty and majesty of this achievement in an ingenious and poetic form, beginning with a mysterious unknown, and ending with a smile of recognition.
Director: John Sanborn
Produced by Doha Film Institute