CINEMA OF ASIA SHINES AT THE DUBAI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
Sun Nov 25,2007
Dubai, November 25, 2007: The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) today announced its Cinema of Asia film line up, which this year will include not just East Asia, but also the countries of the sub-continent (excluding India) with selections from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Ranging from sensational spectacles and crime films to smaller cinematic gems, the section includes works by master film-makers and talented newcomers. For the first time, the Asian section of the festival includes a special focus: this year on China.
Simon Field, DIFF’s Artistic Director of International Programming, spoke about the Focus on China: “To recognise the growing international impact of China, we decided to shine a spotlight on the nation’s cinema. The selection is diverse, ranging from the epic The Banquet to small treasure In the Season of the Horse, which like the prize-winning Tuya’s Marriage is filmed in the awe-inspiring landscape of Mongolia. Both focus on the end of traditional ways of life. Getting Home is a black comedy in which a man (played by famous Chinese comic Zhao Benshan) swears he will get his friend’s corpse home, come what may. Lastly, recognising that Hong Kong cinema now melts into that of the mainland, we include Exiled by Johnnie To, master of the stylish crime film.”
Subcontinent film expert and DIFF programmer Uma da Cunha said: “I am pleased to have been able to bring three debut features to DIFF this year. All of them deal with the effects of poverty and modernization on family and community ties, each approaching the theme from a fresh and distinctive angle. They are packed with energy, colour and confidence.”
From Bangladesh, Golam Rabbany Biplob’s Swopnodanay (On the Wings of Dreams), an international festival favourite, is the story of a villager who finds a wad of cash and has no way of exchanging it or even finding out how much it is. He and his wife are set upon by profiteers, and their marriage sags under the weight of their ‘riches’. Enamul Karim Nirjhar’s Aha! pits old-fashioned values against modern-day racketeers in the story of Malik, an old man living in a mansion in Dhaka that is coveted by real estate dealers. When Malik’s daughter returns from the US, the plot thickens, with reformed killers and amorous cousins added to the mix. From Sri Lanka comes Salinda Perera’s Dheevali (Fisherman’s Daughter), with a strong central performance by Sangeetha Weeraratne. Valli, a young orphan, returns to her village and rebels against the inequities of its harsh feudal way of life.
From the thriving cinemas of East Asia come works by a master and two rising and distinctive talents. Garlanded in Cannes with a prize for Best Actress for Jeon Do-yeon, one of Korea’s finest actresses, Secret Sunshine is by Lee Chang-Dong, internationally recognised as one of South Korea’s greatest directors. Jeon plays a widow who leaves Seoul to make a new start in a small town with her son. But a brutal twist of fate shatters her life. From Japan comes the enchanting A Gentle Breeze in the Village by young Yamashita Nobuhiro. Based on a Manga comic strip for girls, it follows dreamy, innocent Soyo, whose world is changed by the arrival of a city boy and her imminent move to frenetic Tokyo.
In total contrast, from the Philippines comes the raw and energetic low-budget Slingshot from major new talent Brillante Mendoza. From an astonishing, breathless opening sequence, police raid a tenement building in the teeming Manila slum of Quaipo. The story then follows the inter-locking lives of a wide cross-section of the tenement’s residents.
Cinema of Asia is a key programming component of DIFF, which will run from December 9 to 16, 2007. Many of the directors and actors will be present to meet the public. For further information, please visit www.dubaifilmfest.com.
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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