Our top picks for Monday at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival: Blackfish, Bastardo and In the Sands of Babylon.
Tomorrow, 4.15pm, Marina Mall Vox 4
Killer whales in captivity are the focus of this eye-opening documentary about Tilikum, the controversial 32-year-old resident of SeaWorld Orlando who has been involved in the deaths of three people since he was first captured off the coast of Iceland in 1983. Despite claims that such magnificent mammals live longer in such resorts, this thriller questions whether this is actually the case, arguing that Tilikum’s aggression is actually the result of the psychological trauma he and many other orcas experience in captivity.
Tomorrow, 6.15pm, Vox 6
Friday, 3.15pm, Vox 1
If the name doesn’t already grab your attention, then the larger-than-life characters in this magical tale of an orphan laden with an unfortunate nickname will. When fortune turns his way, our central figure looks to take advantage of the situation and to take control of the neighbourhood away from the thugs led by a former friend.
In the Sands of Babylon
Tomorrow, 9pm, Emirates Palace
Wednesday, 3.30pm, Vox 1
The Abu Dhabi favourite Mohamed Al-Daradji brings his third film in five years to the festival, the follow-up to the emotional Son of Babylon, which won him the Variety Middle East Filmmaker of the Year award in 2010. Part drama, part documentary, In the Sands of Babylon continues the story of survivors from the Iraqi uprising of 1991, following both Al-Daradji’s search for answers from Saddam’s notorious mass graves and an escaping soldier as he flees from Kuwait after the first Gulf War.