With the overwhelming response to Nine, Rocket Singh and City of Life setting the tone for Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) 2009, today has a suitably mixed bag with films combining joy and humour with emotional struggles and sensitivity.
DIFF Artistic Director Masoud Amralla Al Ali said the films being screened are a perfect reflection of the bridging cultures ethos of the festival. "We have a powerful collection of movies from the Arab world, as well as breezy movies adapted from classic tales, all highlighting that reality or fantasy, films make for an ideal medium for story-telling."
Director Fermin Muguruza provides a completely novel insight into Palestinian culture with the Rhythm and Reels screening of Checkpoint Rock: Songs from Palestine (8pm; Dubai Media City Amphitheatre), seen through the eyes and ears of some of its leading contemporary musicians.
Another film sure to hit the right note with little ones will be Fantastic Mr Fox (4pm; First Group Theatre Madinat Jumeirah), the animation based on the popular Roald Dahl book of the same name. Produced by Regency Enterprises and Indian Paintbrush, the visually stunning movie features a stellar cast of voiceovers, with George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzmann and Bill Murray.
Elsewhere viewers will find a mix of powerful, thought-provoking subjects. Shirley Adams (9.15pm; Cinestar Mall of the Emirates 1), directed by Oliver Hermanus, is set in Mitchell’s Plain in Cape Town, and is a harrowing tale of single mother, Shirley Adams, whose son Donovan was paralysed in a shooting.
A complex tangle of stories, secrets and seductions makes for fascinating viewing in the Gala of the day, Mother And Child (8pm; Madinat Arena) from acclaimed scriptwriter/director Rodrigo Garcia.
Sirta La Gal Ba (Whisper With The Wind) is a strange, surreal and allegorical tale, set amid the striking mountains of Kurdish Iraq. Shahram Alidi directs the 77-minute film, which features Kurdish dialogue with English subtitles (6.30pm; Cinestar 6).
There’s a strong Kurdish theme to Welcome too (9.45pm; Cinestar 7), which portrays the life of an Iraqi-Kurdish boy who is smuggling himself to England to find the girl he loves. The omens aren’t great when he becomes trapped in Calais, but a lifeguard comes to his aid.
Full listings of films can be accessed via the DIFF website (www.dubaifilmfest.com) and downloaded on to your mobile phone.
DIFF 2009 is held in association with Dubai Studio City. Dubai Duty Free, Dubai Pearl, Emirates Airline and Madinat Jumeirah are the principal sponsors of DIFF and the event is supported by Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture).