From Saharan desert to Australian musical DIFF 2009 captures modern cinema of the world

Sun Dec 13,2009

If cinema is the medium that best captures life as we see it, the Cinema of the World showcase at DIFF 2009 serves a powerful reminder on cultural diversity and how people, irrespective of where they are, share the same hopes and disappointments, joys and frustrations.

Sheila Whitaker, DIFF Director of International Programming, said the selection of movies in the ‘Cinema of the World’ segment offers a rich tapestry of life experiences as well as cultural landscapes. \“The films we have this year have something for everyone, balancing weighty subjects and intense treatments with lighthearted comedies and fun family films, independent and arthouse films to studio projects.\”

One powerful movie is Hammada, directed by Anna Bofarull, in which the lives of the Saharaui living in the Saharan Desert form the storyline and in particular, one little boy living in a refugee camp (Dec. 14, 9.45pm; Cinestar 6; and Dec. 15, 6.30pm; Cinestar 6).

Bran Nue Dae (Dec. 14, 7pm, Cinestar 12 and Dec. 15, 3.45pm, Cinestar 12), director Rachel Perkins’s film version of the acclaimed Australian stage musical, is screened, ahead of its theatrical release in Australia in January 2010. The popular film made its international premiere in Toronto in September and has won audience awards at both the Toronto and Melbourne International Film Festivals. One of the film’s budding young actors, Rocky McKenzie, will be attending DIFF 2009.

Director Philippe Lioret’s Welcome is about an Iraqi-Kurdish boy who is smuggling himself to England to find the girl he loves. He is trapped in Calais until a life guard comes to his aid. The film will be screened again on Dec. 16, 6.30 pm at Cinestar 6.

Le Herisson (The Hedgehog), a film that plays in the In Focus section - this year dedicated to France - on Dec. 16, 7.30 pm at Cinestar 8, is written and directed by Mona Achache.  This charming, funny and thoughtful film will strike a chord with anyone who recalls the melancholic dog days of childhood.

Little Soldat (Little Soldier), directed by Annette Olesen, features a woman driver who ends up briefiending a group of girls, with unexpected consequences (Dec. 14, 6.45pm; Cinestar 9; and Dec. 15, 9.30pm; Cinestar 5, and Dec. 16, 6.45pm; Cinestar 5).

The Korean Wedding Chest, directed by Ulrike Ottinger, provides a fascinating overview of romance and marriage in modern-day Korea, contrasting the traditional with the modern (Dec. 14, 6.30pm; Cinestar 1; and Dec. 15, 9pm; Cinestar 6).

Providing the relief of music and humour is Made in Hungaria, directed by Gergely Fonyo to screen on Dec. 15, 8 pm at Dubai Media City Amphitheatre. It is the story of a young rock’n'roller, who shakes up Communist Hungary in the mid-1960s providing great music and laughs along the way.

Cartagena (Dec. 14, 8pm, Madinat Arena and Dec. 16, 6.30 pm, Cinestar 1) directed by Alain Monne, is another In Focus movie in which in Colombian city, a washed-up ex-boxer gets a job as a carer for a young paralysed woman – leading to an emotionally charged and impassioned romance.

More than 20 brand new, all-star and independent films from around the world are screening in Dubai as part of Cinema of the World line-up. Full listings of films can be accessed via the DIFF website ( and downloaded on to your mobile phone.

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).

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