AlbertBrooks became the first US film-maker to world premiere his film at the DubaiInternational Film Festival yesterday - with the potentially controversialtitle Looking For Comedy In The MuslimWorld, a sub-$25m cross-cultural comedy bankrolled by Steve Bing's Shangri-La Entertainment.
Brooks, whotravelled to the Gulf state with Bing to show his film to a public audience of450, unexpectedly sat through the entire screening with Dubai's Minister forInformation and Culture, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed AlNahyan and his entourage - who, perhaps fortunately,got the jokes andlaughed throughout. The film was well-received, with themost enthusiastic post-screening response to date at the second
Brooks'title has had a bumpy ride prior to its world premiere, after former
StarringBrooks as a Jewish comedian- Albert Brooks - who is dispatched to Indiaand Pakistan by the US Government on a cultural mission to find out what makesMuslims laugh, Looking For Comedy waspart of Dubai's thrust to "build a cultural bridge" to the MiddleEast, a mission which saw the festival open with HanyAbu-Assad's suicide bomber drama Paradise Now.
"I'vebeen through a lot to get to this point," said Brooks after the screening."There was five months of hell over the title, thenwhen we decided to come here a lot of people asked me whether if was a goodidea. Steve Bing made the decision to come - he told me I was coming here. Myinitial reaction was 'what' I'm not going!' I'm the man who never leaves hishouse.
"Butboy, I'm happy I did it now, to have this experience. You never know anythingabout this life. Ididn't know I was going to watch it withtheSheikh - it was a wonderful, wonderful night."