Tales of life during uncertain political crises strike a chord at DIFF

Sat Dec 12,2009

The battle between individual and state, especially in times of political transitions and crises, form the core of a powerful selection of movies from Asia and Africa.

The hysteria surrounding the fervent anti-Communist campaign in 1950s Taiwan is the setting for Prince of Tears, which screens at Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF 2009) on Dec. 13, Sunday (7pm; Cinestar 11, Mall of the Emirates) and Dec. 15, Tuesday, (1.15pm; Cinestar 11).

Sahman (Border), an Armenian film, is set in the post-Soviet period, and follows the Armenian-Azeri conflict. The film scripted, edited, produced and directed by Harutyun Khachatryan, following its first screening, will show at DIFF again on Dec. 14 (1 pm, Cinestar 10).

Nashen Moodley, Director-AsiaAfrica programme, said: “Stories of individuals versus the state find universal resonance, and films like Prince of Tears and Sahman bring out the trauma of living in uncertain times on a truly impressive canvas. These films provide a fascinating insight into pivotal periods in Asian history.”

Prince of Tears, directed and scripted by Yonfan and produced by Fruit Chan focuses on two young sisters who return home from school to find their home being raided by military police and their parents arrested, suspected of being Communist spies.

The compelling feature, the 12th by Yonfan,  in Mandarin dialogue with English subtitles, goes on to explore the nightmarish uncertainty of the times, through an entwined quartet of characters – a dashing air force officer father, his beautiful devoted wife, a mysterious scar-faced bureaucrat and a General’s glamorous wife. Amid life in a turbulent era, friendship, passion, high-minded ideals and dignity are all put on trial.

Sahman (Border) is the story of a village near the conflict zone where an American benefactor of Armenian descent opened a charitable canteen and a nearby farm, where refugees work the land.

DIFF 2009, celebrating its sixth year, runs until December 16 and 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). For more information on the festival, please visit

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