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Indonesian ‘Classic’ and three Japanese films mark AsiaAfrica showcase at DIFF

Wed Nov 11,2009

A ground-breaking Indonesian film and three Japanese movies are among the highlights of the Cinema of AsiaAfrica segment of Dubai International Film Festival 2009, which will also showcase superb new films from China, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Korea.

The Blue Generation – which has received rave reviews – explores Indonesia’s politics through the eyes of Slank, a seminal rock band, and is directed by Garin Nugroho, Dosy Omar and John De Rantau. It is an inspiring and unique combination of documentary, animation, dance, political activism and rock n roll.

Nashen Moodley, Director of the AsiaAfrica programmes, said that this year also marks a strong presence of Japanese cinema. “It’s really encouraging to have such a strong representation from Japan this year, and we are delighted to have such an interesting mix of genres. The films in the Cinema of AsiaAfrica section take on serious issues in some cases and are also engaging and entertaining,” he added.

The Japanese selection has something for everyone, encompassing a classic ‘Ninja’ tale, a dark comedy, an animation film and an engaging family drama. Directed by the award-winning Yoichi Sai, the epic Kamui Gaiden, features a rich narrative and spectacular stunts. The film recounts the life of the fearless renegade ninja Kamui who, exhausted and near death, finds himself saved by a fisherman who takes him into his home.

In contrast, Running On Empty, directed by Dai Sako, is a riotous dark comedy in which a fake kidnapping is botched and a dark secret gradually revealed. Sako wrote the screenplay for the DIFF 2009 award-winner Vacation, and comes to DIFF with the World Premiere of Running On Empty.

Director Mamoru Hosoda’s animation Summer Wars is a tale for our times, featuring a large family which is thrown into disarray by a global crisis emanating from the internet. When maths genius Kenji Koiso is asked by older student, Natsuki, to come with her to her family’s Nagano home for a summer job, he agrees without hesitation – but then geographically and technologically, events start to take an unexpected course.

The superior spy thriller, The Message, represents China in the Cinema of AsiaAfrica section. Set in Nanking in 1942, The Message weaves a spellbinding tale of assassination, interrogation and treachery.

From Korea comes director Yoon-ki Lee’s hilarious comedy My Dear Enemy, in which a woman sets out on an expedition to track down her former boyfriend, who owes her money. He offers to repay the money by collecting from a series of girlfriends, leading to a nostalgic journey.

Director Raymond Red’s Manila Skies from the Philippines is inspired by a true event, tracking the story of a lone hijacker who struggles to survive on the margins of big city society. The hard-hitting Prince of Tears from Taiwan, directed by Yonfan, is a visually stunning look at the “White Terror” era in Taiwan, in which suspected communists were brutally persecuted.

The African film, The Absence, is a thriller directed by Mama Keita about scientist Adama Diop, who returns from Paris to Senegal after 15 years and is shocked to find how much his family has changed, in particular his semi-deaf mute sister, Aicha, who has become embroiled in a seedy underworld of gangsters, drugs and crime.

Turkish Kurdistan marks its presence at DIFF 2009 with The Children of Diyarbakir, directed by Miraz Bezar. A tragic tale on the effects of political violence, the film narrates the story of ten-year-old Gulistan, her younger brother Firat and their infant sister, who are orphaned when paramilitary gunmen shoot down their parents before their eyes. The film takes a thrilling turn when Gulistan comes across the murderer of her parents.

The sixth edition of the Dubai International Film Festival will run from December 9 to 16, 2009. Dubai Duty Free, Dubai Pearl, Emirates Airline and Madinat Jumeirah are the principal sponsors of DIFF.

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