Women call the shots with diverse movie showcase at DIFF 2009

Sun Dec 13,2009

The sixth edition of Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF), currently ongoing through December 16, marks the strong inroads made by women in film-making regionally and internationally. DIFF this year has a strong roster of movies directed by women, some of them true trail-blazers.

DIFF Artistic Director Masoud Amralla Al Ali, said: “Women film makers continue to make great strides in the global film making industry and this year’s festival programme shows they are making an impact in every region.”

The lives of three women clash when they take the same bus for a day’s journey inland to a Beirut men’s prison in Everyday is a Holiday, directed by Dima El-horr. The film was screened as part of the Discovery segment at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival, where El-horr was described as “a major new voice in the cinema of the Middle East”. Everyday is a Holiday will be screened on Dec. 14, 10pm at Cinestar 3, and on Dec. 16, 4pm at Cinestar 1.

Captivating films set in France, Denmark and South America will also be on show during the week-long festival, illustrating the breadth and depth of women’s movie-making skills.

Denmark’s Little Soldier, directed by Annette K. Olesen, takes on the issue of human trafficking through the story of a young female soldier who works as a chauffeur for her father’s Nigerian girlfriend and escort girl. The film is being screened on Dec. 14, 6.45pm at Cinestar 9, and on Dec. 15, 9.30pm at Cinestar 5.

Debut director Mona Achache’s tackles the sensitive issue of childhood melancholy in Le Herisson, with disenchanted 11-year-old Paloma deciding to kill herself on her 12th birthday. As her appointment with death approaches, she meets some kindred spirits, in her building’s grumpy concierge, and an enigmatic, elegant neighbour, who inspire to question her pessimistic outlook. The film is being screened at First Group Theatre at Souk Madinat Jumeirah on Dec. 16, 7.30pm at Cinestar 8.

Ulrike Ottinger’s superbly nuanced, wry and sensitive film The Korean Wedding Chest (Dec. 14, 6.30pm at Cinestar 1 and Dec. 15, 9pm at Cinestar 6) provides a fascinating overview of romance and marriage in modern-day Korea, contrasting the traditional with the new.

The Spanish feature Hammada (Dec. 14, 9.45pm at Cinestar 6 and Dec. 15, 6.30pm at Cinestar 6) by Anna M. Bofarull is set in the Saharan desert, dealing with the lives of the disposed Saharaui people through the figure of Dadah, a young boy who lives in the refugee camp of Dajla.

Cherien Dabis’ debut film Amreeka (Dec.15, 2.15 pm, First Group Theatre), chronicles the adventures of Muna, a single mother who leaves the Palestinian West Bank with Fadi, her teenage son, with dreams of an exciting future in the promised land of small-town Illinois.

A Dubai Film Connection 2007 project, Amreeka made its world premiere at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and went on to win the prestigious FIPRESCI International Federation of Film Critics prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

Peruvian entry The Milk of Sorrow, the story of Peru’s civil unrest in the 1980s and winner of the coveted Golden Bear for Best Picture at the 2009 Berlin Film Festival, is directed by Claudia Llosa Bueno. The film will be screened again on Dec. 16, 7pm at Cinestar 11.

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). Full listings of films can be accessed via the DIFF website ( and downloaded on to your mobile phone.

Presented By
Supported by
In Association With