Tales of hope and despair from Mexico to Mongolia at DIFF

Tue Dec 14,2010

Director Sebastian Hiriart’s debut feature, ‘A Stone’s Throw Away’ is an imaginative reflection on the desire and need of so many Mexicans to find their way, whatever the obstacles, to the promised land of the United States. Jacinto Medina, a 21-year old shepherd in the north of Mexico, is profoundly bored by his uneventful life and lack of opportunity. One day he stumbles upon a keychain lying on the ground engraved with an image of Sprague River, Oregon and, seeing it as a sign, sets out to return it to its owner. The trials and hazards of such a journey are realistically portrayed but Hiriart’s use of dreams and fantasy in this spectacular film, screening at 12.45 pm at Cinestar 8, the Mall of the Emirates (MoE).

‘The Dead Sea,’ another Mexican film by director Ignacio Ortiz Cruz, is shot in a grainy, noir style and is a powerful contemporary commentary on the age old concepts of sin, transgression and redemption. The lights have gone out in Mexico City. An old hotel receptionist is threading a strand of yarn into a needle. In the hotel lobby are Maria and Magdalena , two sisters who are prostitutes. It is time for them to ply their trade and they set off into the unlit streets unaware that during this night murder and transgression will forever change their lives and those of the men they encounter. The film will screen at 4 pm at Cinestar 11.

In ‘The Qandil Mountains,’ Iranian director Taha Karimi sets his first, beautifully filmed, dramatic feature against the violent yet stunning backdrop of the mountains, casting veteran stage and screen actor Ghotbedin Sadeghi with a set of younger actors playing the sons and daughters of the conflict, attempting to draw on the common concerns that link Arabs with Kurds, Turkmen with Persians. The film will screen at 3.15 pm at Cinestar 6.

Set against the magnificent backdrop of the Mongolian landscape, Byamba Sakhya’s ‘Passion’ is a fascinating look at Mongolian film history. He follows Binder Jigjid, son of the legendary Mongolian director Jigjid Dejid, as he takes his films from village to village trying to eke out an existence. ‘Passion’ tells the compelling story of a complex relationship between artists and the system and the impact of social and political transition on individual destiny. The film will screen at 3.30 pm at Cinestar 5.

In director Jillali Ferhati’s ‘At Dawn,’ Keltoum and her husband, Omar, live in a village in the heart of the Moroccan mountains. They are both actors, but do not have much work and have been dreaming of staging a play for years. Keltoum is sick and Omar takes her regularly to Tangiers to be treated. While there, he searches for a theatre for their play and also visits his daughter. Starting at dawn, ‘At Dawn’ portrays one of these trips, in which we meet the characters in the morning and meet up with them again in the afternoon on their way back home. The film screens today at 7 pm at Cinestar 12, and at Dec. 17, 3 pm at Cinestar 5.

DIFF 2010 box office locations are: CineStar Mall of the Emirates, the Madinat Souk, The Walk at JBR, and at the CNN Building in Dubai Media City. Tickets can also be purchased through DIFF’s Dial-a-Ticket service at (04) 391 3378 and from the website,

The DIFF Rhythm & Reels section is presented by Dubai Pearl and Dubai Properties. DIFF 2010 is held in association with Dubai Studio City. Dubai Duty Free, Dubai International Financial Centre, Dubai Pearl, Emirates Airline and Madinat Jumeirah, the home of the Dubai International Film Festival, are the principal sponsors of DIFF. The event is supported by the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority.

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