Last Wednesday, the UAE opened its doors to the 14th edition of the Dubai International Film Festival, hosting both internationally accredited films as well as movies that will be aired for the first time.
With glamorous red carpet arrivals, celebrities in attendance and theaters witnessing the great art of making films, DIFF has turned into a massive annual event that attracts filmmakers from all around the world.
This year, the festival is screening 140 films from 51 countries, and in 38 languages. The festival is on until December 13, and below is a selection of movies we think you should definitely watch:
1. A Time To Pray / Mawaad Salat - (Bahrain)
Directed by Ahmed Al Kuwaiti, this movie is about an Emirati girl and her pregnant friend who go on a long trip but have a car accident, deep in the heart of nowhere. In desperation, they visit a local mosque, the only one in the area, for help...
2. Al Obour / The Crossing - (Palestine)
The trials and tribulations faced by ordinary Palestinians attempting to travel a few hundred meters inside their own land are sad indeed and only too well known and documented.
This heartbreaking story articulates what happens with two children - Shady and Maryam - when they try to visit their sick grandfather, who lives on the other side of the separation barrier.
3. Jarna Bu Hamad / Our Neighbor Bu Hamad - (Kuwait)
Khaled is a twenty-something-year-old man who usually minds his own business. But when strange noises begin emanating from his neighbor Bu Hamad's house, his curiosity is piqued. Soon after, he begins to regret his decision…
4. Astra - (Tunisia)
Dali takes care of his daughter Douja, who has Down’s Syndrome. One day, against his wife’s advice, Dali takes Douja to Astra, an amusement park. In this park, a bizarre new world is revealed to them...
5. A Drowning Man - (Palestine/Denmark)
Fateh is the drowning man of the title – metaphorically drowning in sea of worries, troubles and existential dread. As he paces the streets of Athens, it seems that his life is rapidly heading down the dumper. But then, on his peripatetic peregrinations, he gains a profound insight into his condition...
6. The Scapegoat (Saudi Arabia)
Paul Dugan was once a best-selling author but is now struggling to write his next novel. Feeling the pressure to live up to his earlier successes, he sequesters himself in an isolated cabin in the woods to confront his internal demons. Will it unlock the muse?
7. Detained - (Saudi Arabia)
'Detained' revolves around Lara, a Syrian refugee girl who has fled to the United States to escape the violence in her home country. However, when detained by the U.S. authorities due to her father's alleged terrorist activities, the audience is torn between truth and assumption, as she struggles to prove her innocence.
8. Saroona - (Kuwait)
How do small children react to the birth of a new sibling? This sweet tale tells of one such incident, as six-year-old Saroona runs away from home following the arrival of a baby in the family.
Blue Fly Road / Tareek Al Zoubab Al Azrak - (Syria)
Syrian filmmaker Bassam Chekhes’s heartwarming tale of nine-year-old twin brothers investigates the mystical bond that forms between close siblings.
Ibrahim lives alone in the forest. Every day, he waits for his twin brother Abdulla to bring him food and water. One day they switch places, so Ibrahim can wander, for the first time, through the blue fly road.
10. The Remaining Time / Al Zaman Al Baki - (UAE)
Earth is invaded by aliens from outer space, and a girl is trapped in a room with a stranger, both of whom are focused purely on survival...