Our pick of today's best films at the Dubai International Film Festival
DIFF: Five to watch today Wednesday, December 13
I Am Not a Witch
This debut feature from Zambian director Rungano Nyoni satirises her homeland’s more esoteric traditions and beliefs. I Am Not a Witch is a blackly comic account of a young girl, Shula, who is declared a witch by her neighbours in a rural Zambian village. She’s sent to a bizarre “witch camp”, under the care of a creepy, pompous official, Mr Banda, who gets busy exploiting the child’s supposed talents in ever-more bizarre situations.
Vox 13, 5.30pm
The Prince of Nothingwood
Hilarious documentary following the larger-than-life Afghan movie mogul and actor Salim Shaheen. Shaheen has made more than 100 films in his homeland, to great public acclaim, and filmmaker Sonia Kronlund goes behind the scenes of his 111th shoot for a peek into his bizarre world. Shaheen is a flamboyant, passionate man, a cheerfully colossal egomaniac who simply knows and provides what his audience – predominantly Afghan men – want: violence, action and machismo. In this portrait, Kronlund invites us to empathise with Shaheen, a man firmly convinced of his own splendour.
Vox, 15 2.15pm
You can’t envy The Message’s unfortunate time slot, playing directly opposite the festival’s closing film (more on that later), but if you don’t have your ticket for the alternative, The Message warrants a watch purely on the basis of the fascinating story surrounding the film. This will be the first time the 40-year old movie, which tells the story of the birth of Islam, has screened at a cinema in the region following controversy and bans ahead of its planned 1976 launch. Surviving members of the cast, as well as the son of the late director, Moustapha Akkad, will be in attendance to celebrate the milestone.
Vox 1, 8pm
Kurt Voelker’s weepy closes this year’s screenings at The Beach. The film is the story of a widowed man and his son who move across the United States so that the mourning father can take a private school teaching job. Their lives are changed forever by two unique women who help them to embrace life, and love again.
The Beach, 7.30pm
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
This year’s closing film needs little introduction. Rian Johnson’s instalment in the Star Wars saga is perhaps the most anticipated cinema event of 2017, so rather than tell you what you already know, we recommend you don your Stormtrooper body armour, pick up your lightsaber, and head down to the red carpet. We hope you had a great festival.
Madinat Arena, 8pm