x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

From doppelgängers in The Double and Enemy to nuns in Ida and Philomena, this years Abu Dhabi Film Festival schedule features a bumper bag of trends.

Jake Gyllenhaal and Jake Gyllenhaal in Enemy. Courtesy Rhombus Media
Jake Gyllenhaal and Jake Gyllenhaal in Enemy. Courtesy Rhombus Media

Mia Wasikowska and Jesse Eisenberg

The increasingly prolific actress appears in both The Double and Only Lovers Left Alive. We’re having an office wager over the number of different ways that her name will be pronounced during the week. Perhaps it’s better just sticking to “Mia”. As for Eisenberg, The Social Network star also appears in two films: the environmental drama Night Moves and The Double, which is about ...


Richard Ayoade’s Dostoyevsky-inspired drama The Double stars Eisenberg as a meek office worker facing a much cooler version of himself, while the Canadian director Denis Villeneuve’s Enemy features not one but two Jake Gyllenhaals (simmer down, ladies).


Less fun, more commonplace, the issue of gridlock is covered in Holy GRA, a documentary looking at life around Rome’s ring road, and Cairo Drive, which moves the viewpoint to Egypt’s car-choked capital.

Bosnian directors

Bosnia may have recently qualified for their first football World Cup finals, but there were undoubtedly bigger cheers in Sarajevo with the news that two Bosnian directors are in this year’s ADFF line-up. An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker, by Danis Tanovic might not appear to be a massive heap of laughs, but the narrative picked up Jury Grand Prix in Berlin and is the Bosnian entry for next year’s Oscars. Then there’s Jasmila Žbanic’s For Those Who Can Tell No Tales, a poignant drama examining the ethnic cleansing of Bosniaks in the 1990s.

Real-life drama

The real world often has far more horrible stories than anyone could dream up. The Irrfan Khan-starring drama Qissa, which deals with the aftermath of the 1947 separation of India, as well as the documentary The Kill Team, which is about a young soldier who tried to alert the US military to horrific murders being committed by American soldiers in Afghanistan, are real-life-inspired. The Missing Picture is a sobering animated documentary chronicling Pol Pot’s dictatorship in Cambodia and the winner of the Cannes Un Certain Regard prize.


The never-ending search for new fuel sources is at the core of several new films screening at the festival. Holy Field Holy War is the latest in a gush of films looking at fracking. The Reconstruction is a character-based drama about the trials of an oil drill inspector, while Pandora’s Promise is a documentary examining the possibilities of nuclear power, and Night Moves follows three radical environmentalists who come together to blow up a hydroelectric dam.


The sisters get a double showing in Ida, a Polish drama that sees a young woman preparing to join a convent, and the critically acclaimed Philomena, in which Judi Dench attempts to find the son who was taken from her while she was trapped in an Irish nunnery.


• For screening times and locations, go to www.adff.ae