DUBAI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL BRINGS WORLD’S BEST CINEMA TO DUBAI
Mon Nov 26,2007
Dubai, November 26, 2007: The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) today announced its Cinema of the World programming lineup. From prize-winning titles to star-laden American movies, from the burgeoning cinema of Turkey to special films of the year from Iran, Latin America and Europe, the section features some of the best films of every style, among them bio-pics, new Westerns, and spectacular epics.
Leading the programme as the Gala selection is The Darjeeling Limited, the latest wryly comic outing from cult director Wes Anderson (The Royal Tennebaums, The Life Acquatic with Steve Zissou). Estranged brothers Jack (Jason Schwartzman), Peter (Adrien Brody of The Pianist) and Francis (Owen Wilson of The Wedding Crashers), haven’t spoken since their father’s funeral. They embark on a crazy train journey through India on a quasi-spiritual quest to heal the family wounds and find their eccentric mother (Anjelica Huston).
Simon Field, Artistic Director of International Programming believes “The Darjeeling Limited is one of a great series of spirited independent movies to come from around Hollywood this year. Our programme is rich with them, and they all feature stunning performances by actors at the peak of their powers. They enhance a great year for international cinema showcased in this programme”
The segment’s American films contain a number of pleasures, especially for Western fans: Brad Pitt won Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival for his title role in an epic re-visioning of the Jesse James myth The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, but Casey Affleck is also astonishing as Ford (Affleck also features in his brother Ben Affleck’s distinctive directorial debut, the detective thriller Gone Baby Gone). Also neo-Western in mood is the Coen Brothers’ No Country for Old Men, involving a stash of cash and a pursuit across West Texas.
Two potential Oscar-contending performances are also to be found by Pierce Brosnan and Halle Berry in two very different domestic dramas. Brosnan shines with dry wit and duplicity as he pursues his best friend’s new love in Married Life and Berry is superlative alongside Benicio Del Toro in Things we Lost in the Fire, in which she plays a widow who forms a strange bond with her husband’s drug addict friend.
Completing the strong US representation are veteran indies Gus Van Sant with his lyrical skate-boarding drama Paranoid Park, involving an accidental killing, and Wayne Wang with The Princess of Nebraska.
Closer to home and in complete contrast to the US, Turkey and Iran offer four strong new features, several around moral dilemmas. From the ever stronger Turkish cinema comes Takva (A Man’s Fear of God), in which a devout Muslim is elected by his religious order to be their rent collector and must fight against his own greed and the hypocrisy of the order’s Sheikh. The truck driver in Riza cannot afford to repair his broken-down truck. He is offered cash, but only if he commits a violent crime. Iranian cinema maestro Abelfazl Jalili celebrates the life of the great poet in Hafez with a lovely contemporary vision in which the cleric is distracted by love and poetry. In austere but stunning visual contrast is An Seh (Those Three) in which three Iranian recruits flee from army life in the middle of the harsh winter, struggling to survive.
Latin America offers ribald comedy El Bano del Papa (The Pope’s Toilet), in which a small-time smuggler has the smart idea of providing a public toilet for the thousands of pilgrims expected for the Pope’s visit. The Argentinean Encarnacion has former Miss Argentina Silvia Perez as an actress in her late forties who veers between acting her age and seducing much younger men. Mexico’s enfant terrible of cinema Carlos Reygadas surprises us with Stellet Licht (Silent Light) where Johann, a deeply religious Mexican Mennonite, is in profound spiritual conflict as he enters an adulterous relationship.
To be expected is the diversity of films from Europe. Russia offers the spectacular Mongol, a wide-screen epic set in the Mongolian steppes that depicts the tortured life and violent rise of Genghis Khan. Major new talents from Eastern Europe are also present: justly acclaimed at Cannes with the Palme D’Or is the Rumanian 4 Luni, 3 Saptamani si 2 Zile (4 Months, 2 Weeks and 2 Days). Harrowing but profoundly moving, it tells of a young girl seeking an illegal abortion in the last years of Communist rule. The Serbian Klopka (The Trap) is a taut thriller in which a father can only raise the cash for his son’s life-saving operation if he will kill a man.
Three very distinctive and different films are bio-pics offering creative portraits of real characters. From the UK are the totally contrasting Control and When Did You Last See your Father? The latter, both witty and touching, explores with outstanding performances the love-hate relationship between a father (Jim Broadbent) and his writer son (Colin Firth), told by the son as his father dies of cancer. The much acclaimed Control follows the short-lived but brilliant career of Ian Curtis, lead singer of the legendary Manchester ‘new wave’ band Joy Division. The French contribution to this trio is painter/film-maker Julian Schnabel’s Cannes Best Director-winning Le Scaphandre et le Papillon (The Diving Bell and The Butterfly). Mathieu Amalric is extraordinary in this visually inventive film about a fashion editor able to communicate only with his eyelid after a debilitating stroke.
Completing the section and reminding us forcefully of our world now is Battle for Haditha, by acclaimed documentary filmmaker Nick Broomfield (Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer). A fictionalised account shot in verité style, this film describes the US massacre of a group of Iraqi civilians seen from the perspectives of the Marine platoon on duty, the Iraqi family, and two insurgents plotting a revenge murder.
The Cinema of the World screenings run throughout DIFF 2007, which takes place between December 9 and 16, 2007.
DIFF’s Principal Sponsors are Dubai Duty Free, Dubai Pearl, Emirates and Jumeirah.
The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) was launched in December 2004 under the theme: Bridging Cultures. Meeting Minds.
DIFF is held under the honorary Chairmanship of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum. DIFF is a not-for-profit cultural event, presented and organised by the Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone Authority.
As the previous editions of DIFF have demonstrated, the Festival not only presents cinematic excellence from around the world, but is also an important high-profile platform for aspiring home-grown talent.
“Bridging Cultures. Meeting Minds,” has been hailed by all as a unique and relevant theme to promote better understanding and mutual respect between different communities and countries.
Since its inception, DIFF has become an important meeting point for international and regional filmmakers and industry professionals setting the foundation for potential future collaborations.
The past three editions of DIFF have presented more than 250 films, documentaries and shorts from more than 48 countries.
In 2006 the festival took place at the magnificent Madinat Jumeirah resort. As a further commitment of DIFF’s endeavours to facilitate greater opportunities for regional Arab talent, the Muhr Awards was launched. Another first for DIFF in 2006 was the setting up of the Industry Office, which was established with a view to exclusively assist the needs of all registered delegates.
The fourth edition of the Dubai International Film Festival will take place from December 9-16 and will present the best of Arab and international cinema in the feature film, shorts and documentary formats. Building on the success of last year, DIFF 2007 will also host the Muhr Awards and the Industry Office with new features.
For any further information and regular updates on DIFF 2007 please log on to www.dubaifilmfest.com
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