Blackfish reveals a dark side to keeping whales in captivity
The compelling film, screening at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, details how these creatures have effectively been driven mad by being held in marine-based tourist attractions.
The Double: twice as nice and nasty
Jessie Eisenberg plays himself - twice - in the dark doppelganager comedy The Double, screening as part of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival.
Run For Your Life shows the grass isn’t always greener
We talk to Amna Ilyas, who stars in the Pakistani film Zinda Bhaag that is screening at ADFF. The film tackles issues familiar to expats living in the UAE: the desire to leave the country of their birth and chase their fortunes abroad.
My Sweet Pepper Land coats heaviness with humour
My Sweet Pepperland is a funny, poignant film set in post-Saddam Kurdistan that also manages to serve as a modern-day Iraqi Western.
The Broken Circle Breakdown
9.30pm Marina Mall Vox Cinemas 3
Taking the chronological trickery of Blue Valentine, this clever Flemish drama skips between the past and present to lay bare the moving and electrifying love story of a punk tattoo artist and a bluegrass-loving cowboy. Having watched these two first meet, we’re then transported forward to see how the suffering of their ill daughter drives them apart. While the future of this relationship is one shaped by misery, by repeatedly turning back the clocks we’re offered regular bouts of joy.
Once Upon A Time in the West
9pm Emirates Palace
As one of the few chances you’ll get to see Sergio Leone’s epic Spaghetti Western – now digitally restored – on the big screen, you should saddle up and grasp this opportunity by the reins. It’s got everything you’d expert from one of the masters of cinema; lush widescreen landscapes, a classic Enrico Morricone score, and a story involving a character with no name, Charles Bronson’s mysterious man with a harmonica. It’s also one of Leone’s longest, nearly touching the three-hour mark, so you might want to bring a cushion.
Video: Rags and Tatters - Trailer
Escaping from prison amid the turbulence of the 2011 Tahrir Square demonstrations, a nameless fugitive desperately seeks warmth and shelter in the outer regions of Cairo. Directed by Ahmad Abdalla and staring Asser Yassin and Amr Abed.
Video: Djinn trailer
Djinn, a tale of evil spirits plaguing a UAE apartment is the world’s first supernatural thriller in both English and Arabic.
Video: Blackfish - Trailer
Blackfish tells the story of Tilikum, a notoriously aggressive orca that killed three people while in captivity. Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite uses shocking footage and emotional interviews to present a convincing case against keeping these wild animals for human entertainment.
Video: Cairo Drive - Trailer
“Cairo Drive” is a documentary that explores the life of one of the world’s most populated cities—from its streets. Shot in 2009-2012 (before and during the Egyptian revolu- tion, and ending with the most recent presidential elec- tions), the film explores the country’s collective identity, inherent struggles, and the sentiments that lead through the historic changes taking place in Egypt today. Directed by Sherief Elkatsha
Video: Pandora’s Promise - Trailer
'Pandora's Promise' aims to inspire a serious and realistic debate over what is without question the most important question of our time: how do we continue to power modern civilization without destroying it? Directed by Robert Stone
Iraqi filmmakers were the big winners among this year’s Enjaaz production fund recipients, with four out of the seven short films, picked by the Dubai Film Market (DFM)-administered fund, from Iraq.
Kamiran Betasi (A Long Night), Haider Rashid (The Deep), Omar Khalifa (The Bad Hunter) and Aieas Jehad (Bicycle) are the successful Iraqi applicants, with the list completed by Hussain AlMutlaq (Bus 321) and Mohamed Al Saber (Who Killed Sarah) of Saudi Arabia and Saleh Nass (Souq Al Markazi) from Bahrain.
Image Nation Abu Dhabi, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Media, the publisher and owner of The National, also partners with DFM to offer production support for the selected films and Enjaaz recipients are considered for DIFF and the Gulf Film Festival each year, with the possibility of Oscar consideration if they win the Muhr Arab Shorts competition at DIFF.
Enjaaz has operated since 2009 and offers post-production funding to feature films as well as production funding to shorts. Among the best-known films to have benefited from Enjaaz are this year’s Oscar-nominated Omar and the Bafta-nominated Wadjda.
Among the filmmakers, Khalifa and Rashid have had success with their Enjaaz-supported films Baghdad Messi and It’s About to Rain, respectively.