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Star-studded attractions and powerful documentaries including a 900-minute history of film at DIFF’s

Mon Dec 05,2011

Dubai, UAE; December 5, 2011: From a 900-minute long odyssey on the history of international cinema to star-studded productions by veterans such as Clint Eastwood, and pop idol Madonna donning the director’s hat for her second full-length motion picture, the ‘Cinema of the World’ showcase at the eighth Dubai International Film Festival promises viewers an array of memorable movie experiences.

Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President & Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, DIFF’s ‘Cinema of the World’ programme brings the diversity of global cinema today with selections from the US, UK, Canada, Brazil, Italy and Canada, among others.

One of the most compelling cinema experiences at this DIFF will be British director Mark Cousins’ Story of Film: An Odyssey. Thirteen episodes of the ambitious multi-part documentary will be screened every day from Dec. 10 to Dec. 12 at Mall of Emirates Gold Class 2, daily at 12.30 pm, 2 pm, 3.30 pm, 5 pm and 6.30 pm. Touring through the evolution of international cinema, from the silent era to the contemporary digital age, the film focuses on the ideas and innovations that shaped the best of the world’s cinema.

An official selection at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival, it features personal interviews with global icons including two-time Emmy nominee Norman Lloyd (Steambath; The Name of the Game), DIFF 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award honouree Amitabh Bachchan, and twin Golden Globe nominee Paul Schrader (Raging Bull; Taxi Driver), among others.

Making its international premiere at DIFF 2011 is the French film Blind Valley (Mineurs 27) by director Tristan Auroret. The film depicts the story of two teenagers, complete opposites as personalities, fighting over the love of Deborah, only to unravel that their life is in danger. The film stars award-winning actor Jean-Hugues Anglade (Persécution; Queen Margot), newcomer Nassim Si Ahmed, and renowned television star Finnegan Oldfield (Engrenages). Watch the film on Dec. 9 at MoE 1 and Dec. 10 at MoE 8.

Also making its international premiere is British director Nick Murphy’s The Awakening. The film is set in 1921 England, where many of the Great War bereaved sought solace in spiritualism. Haunted by her fiance’s death, Florence acquires a remarkable reputation for debunking séances. When she is asked to investigate ghost sightings, despite her cynicism, she experiences a frighteningly chilling encounter that defies all reason. The film will be screened on Dec. 12 at the First Group Theatre, Souk Madinat Jumeirah.

Actor/director/producer and composer Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar is another key attraction at DIFF this year. The film stars Oscar-winner Dame Judi Dench, three-time Academy Award winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio, Academy Award nominee Naomi Watts, and Armie Hammer, known for his phenomenal performance in David Fincher’s The Social Network.

The film charts the story of J. Edgar Hoover, head of the FBI for nearly 50 years, who rose to be the most powerful man in America. Outlasting eight presidents and three wars, he stopped at nothing to protect his country. Seen through the eyes of Hoover himself, the film explores the personal and public life of a man who could distort the truth as easily as he upheld it during a career devoted to justice. The film will be screened on Dec. 8 at the First Group Theatre.

Also from USA is Daniel Lindsay and T. G. Martin’s documentary Undefeated, which will be screened on Dec. 12 and Dec. 14 at MoE 4. The film was shot over six years, and follow the young members of the Memphis Manassas Tigers’ as they persevere to win their first football playoff in the school’s 110-year history.

Multiple-Grammy Award winning recording artist, actress, children’s book author, philanthropist, and fashion designer, Madonna’s W.E., is two parallel love stories separated by more than six decades, based on the lives of Wally, an unhappily married New Yorker seeking refuge in the romance of King Edward VII and Wallis Simpson. When Wally visits an auction at the royal couple’s estate at Sotheby’s, she meets Evgeni, a Sotheby’s employee, with a mysterious past. The lives of these two fragile, but determined women become inextricably linked. The film will screen on Dec. 9 at the First group Theatre.

A stark look at the day in the life of small town America, Magic Valley by Jaffe Zinn, portrays how life can waylay us at any moment, thereby changing us forever. The film stars Scott Glenn (Secretariat; Nights in Rodhante), Kyle Gallner (Beautiful Boy; A Nightmare on Elm Street) and Alison Elliot (Law & Order; ER). Magic Valley will be screened on Dec. 12 at MoE 8, and Dec. 14 at MoE 5.

Making its Middle East Premiere from Canada is Mathieu Roy and Harold Crooks’ Surviving Progress, an experimental documentary, follows the footsteps of Ronald Wright’s bestselling book, bringing together some of the world’s great contemporary thinkers and authors including Stephen Hawking, Margaret Atwood and Jane Goodall to explore the idea of progressive obstacles in the modern world. The film will be screened on Dec. 8, Dec. 9, and Dec. 10 at MoE 10.

Italian director Gudio Lombardi’s Là-Bas A Criminal Education, follows Yssouf, a young sculptor from West Africa who arrives in Naples in search of his uncle. Although his uncle promises him a better future, Yssouf gets sucked into his criminal drug-dealing life. This powerful story, blurring fiction and reality, is a contemporary crime noir, and will be screened on Dec. 12 at MoE 1 and Dec. 13 at MoE 4.

Brazilian filmmakers Helvévio Marins Jr. and Clarissa Campolina’s Girimunho, screening on Dec. 12 and Dec. 14 at MoE 8, is the story of the 81-year-old octogenarian, Bastu, and her vivid imagination, the way she perceives human relations and the co-existence of extremes – life and death; dreams and reality; and traditions and modernity – all amongst which she sees the spirit of her dead husband.


DIFF 2011 will screen 171 films from 56 nations representing the best of national, regional and world cinema between December 7 and 14 at the Mall of the Emirates, Madinat Jumeirah and The Walk at JBR.

The DIFF box office is now open online at www.dubaifilmfest.com and at the DIFF box offices in Dubai Media City, JBR The Walk, Mall of the Emirates and Madinat Jumeirah. Additional information is also available through the Festival’s dedicated customer care number, 363 FILM (3456).

The Investment Corporation of Dubai is the title sponsor of the Dubai International Film Festival, which is held in association with Dubai Studio City. Dubai Duty Free, Dubai Pearl, Emirates Airline and Madinat Jumeirah, home to the Dubai International Film Festival, are the principal sponsors of DIFF. The Festival is supported by the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority. For more and updated information about DIFF, please visit www.dubaifilmfest.com
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