Looking at the larger picture in Khalid Ali’s Love X-Large

Emirati director Khalid Ali, based his touching tale of unrequited love with a local twist, on his own real-life experiences.

Mahmood Al Kattan stars in the film Love X-Large, which is up for the Muhr Emirati award. Courtesy DIFF
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Love X-Large, directed by the Emirati Khalid Ali, is a touching tale of unrequited love with a local twist.

An overweight young Emirati man, Aswaaq, has his life turned upside down when he is rejected by the object of his affections – his cousin – because he is obese. The 18-minute film, which is in Arabic with English subtitles, is shot in both colour and black and white.

Ali based his story on his own real-life experiences with the opposite sex, and it was after telling his tales of woe to friends Mahmood Al Kattan and Omar Altamimi that they wove his story into a film script. Al Kattan also stars in the lead role as Aswaaq, the spurned lover.

“This film talks about a type of love which exists in our community,” says Ali. “It’s about a guy who has liked a girl since he was a teenager and as he grows up it develops into love. So the guy decides to propose to the girl whom he loves. But she refuses and rejects him, just because he’s obese.”

Ali, 42, has been directing films for TV and cinema since 1992. It's not the first time he has made a film about looking beyond the surface. His 1999 documentary The Diver and the Shark, which won him a prize at Tunisia's Carthage Film Festival, drives home a similar message.

“I wanted to show that the white shark looks harmless but actually it’s one of the most dangerous sharks. And the tiger shark looks very scary and terrifying but is totally harmless. The idea of the film is that there are people who look handsome, cute and beautiful, but they have a black and merciless heart. And there are people who look ugly, dirty and scary but they have a nice, kind, lovely, innocent heart.”

Love X-Large is being shown as part of the Muhr Emirati package at Mall of the Emirates 6 on Tuesday, December 16, at 2pm