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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 21 November 2018

Line-up for DIFF’s Muhr AsiaAfrica programme revealed

Films by acclaimed directors will compete for top prizes in DIFF's Muhr AsiaAfrica line-up.
A scene from The Lunchbox starring Irrfan Khan, left. Courtesy Sikhya Entertainment
A scene from The Lunchbox starring Irrfan Khan, left. Courtesy Sikhya Entertainment

The Muhr AsiaAfrica programme at the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) is out and includes some of the most celebrated films in world cinema this year.

The line-up includes Ilo Ilo, set in Singapore and the first film by Anthony Chen; Andrew Worsdale’s Durban Poison, a noir romance about the marginalised white underclass of his native South Africa; and the Bangladeshi writer and director Mostofa Sarwar Farooki’s Ant Story, about a young graduate trying to make it in Dhaka.

There’s also Shakram Mokri’s Fish and Cat, fresh from taking a top award at this year’s Venice film festival. Based on a grisly true story, it follows a group of students camping in the Caspian region of Iran.

The award-winning French filmmaker Dyana Gaye’s debut feature Under the Starry Sky focuses on the lives of three young people whose criss-crossing paths intersect between Africa, America and Europe.

The veteran Taiwanese filmmaker Tsai Ming-Liang’s poetic Stray Dogs follows a homeless father and two children who inhabit the margins of Taipei.

Then there’s The Lunchbox, the much-acclaimed feature by the Indian filmmaker Ritesh Batra, about a wrongly delivered lunchbox in Mumbai that connects an elderly man, played by Irrfan Khan, to a young housewife.

The Chadian director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun returns to DIFF with his fifth feature film, Grigris, about a 25-year-old man with a paralysed leg who dreams of being a dancer.

Thou Gild’st the Even is a fable from the Turkish filmmaker Onur Ünlü, set in a small Anatolian town where all the inhabitants have supernatural powers.

The crime thriller Thuy, by Jae-Han Kim, follows a Vietnamese woman investigating the suspicious death of her Korean husband.

The Muhr AsiaAfrica programme presents US$50,000 (Dh183,000) to the Best Film, a Special Jury Prize of $40,000, $15,000 for Best Director, and Best Actress and Best Actor each take away $8,000. The winners will be announced at the closing ceremonies of the festival, which runs from December 6 to 14. Visit www.diff.ae for screening schedules.

artslife@thenational.ae