The 2015 Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) revealed 11 additional films set to appear in its ‘Cinema of The World’ program. The first new addition to the lineup is the suspenseful and dramatic award-winning film ‘The Clan’, by Argentinian director Pablo Trapero (pictured above), which won the ‘Silver Lion’ award at the 2015 Venice Film Festival. Based on the true story of the Puccio family, ‘The Clan’ follows the disturbing story of a sinister 1970s family whose existence revolves around the kidnapping of wealthy people for ransoms paid by the victims’ families.
Next up is the gripping drama, ‘Truth’, starring Robert Redford and Cate Blanchett. From American director, James Vanderbilt, ‘Truth’ offers a behind-the-scenes look at news anchor, Dan Rather, during his final days at CBS News when he broadcast a damaging report about President Bush’s avoidance of fighting for his country in the Vietnam War. More than a decade after his departure, Dan Rather is given a touching send-off by James Vanderbilt in a compelling dramatization that demonstrates that the truth of the matter is sometimes more complicated than it seems.
Renowned filmmaker Kamal Swaroop brings his controversial and highly acclaimed film ‘The Battle for Banaras’ inspired by Nobel laureate Elias Canetti’s book, ‘Crowds and Power’ to DIFF. This searing documentary lays bare the underbelly of politics in the world’s largest democracy interweaving Indian history with contemporary politics. The film is set against the backdrop of elections in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal battle for people’s affection and votes in the holy city of Banaras. ‘The Battle for Banaras’ takes no prisoner’s in uncovering the manipulation of the masses by the country’s political elite.
The deep scars of civil war are the subject of award-winning filmmaker Dalibor Matanić’s latest feature ‘The High Sun’ which took home the Jury Prize in Un Certain Regard at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Set over 3 consecutive decades in neighbouring Balkan Villages, Matanić’s film examines the inter-ethnic hatred in the former Yugoslavia through three different loves stories. The tension that should drive these forbidden couples apart after years of bitter war is precisely that which brings them together. A visually lush film with superb performances from the two leads; ‘The High Sun’ is arguably Matanić’s strongest film to date and is sure to be an audience favourite.
Set in the final days of a dying logging town, Australian director Simon Stone’s tension-filled family drama ‘The Daughter’ starring Academy Award winner Geoffrey Rush follows the story of Christian, a man who returns to his family home for a wedding only to unearth a long-buried family secret. In an attempt to put things right he threatens to shatter the lives of those he left at home all those years ago.
Irish director Lenny Abrahamson’s latest feature, ‘Room’, is based on Emma Donoghue’s 2010 best-selling novel of the same name, and recently won the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, which is often the barometer for future Academy Awards. The drama centres on a mother played by Brie Larson and her young son Jack kidnapped and held in a tiny, windowless room for seven years. Eventually the mother devises an escape plan and they are thrust out into the world beyond the “room” to adjust to the strange, terrifying and wondrous world outside their one-room prison.
Directors Andy Schocken and Oscar®–winner Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s documentary ‘Song of Lahore’, is a moving and uplifting look at cultural preservation and a group of passionate and skilled musicians who risk their own safety to inspire listeners from all over the globe. Since the time of Pakistan’s independence, the city of Lahore was world-renowned for its music. Then with the Islamization of Pakistan in the 1970s, many of Lahore’s most accomplished and celebrated musicians struggled to continue their life’s work. ‘Song of Lahore’ turns the spotlight on a group of brave musicians that kept on playing.
Acclaimed South African director Oliver Hermanus’s ‘The Endless River’ follows the life of a young waitress. The film sees her welcome home her husband to the small South African town of Riviersonderend (Endless River) after a four-year stint in jail. ‘The Endless River’ depicts the hardships of life and sees the young woman form an unlikely bond with a grieving widower as they help each other to transcend their mutual anger, pain and loneliness.
Russian director Alexander Sokurov guides the audience on a remarkable artistic journey through history in his latest film ‘Francofonia’ which played to acclaim at the Venice film festival. Sokurov’s inventive film looks at the inner workings of the Louvre, and the history of its great patrons who realised the importance of protecting world art for posterity, particularly during times of war.
Multi-award winning Romanian filmmaker, Corneliu Poromboiu, brings his acclaimed film ‘The Treasure’ to DIFF audiences. Told through the exploits of a working class father on the hunt for vaguely promised ‘treasure’ that could lead to a better life for him and his young family, this darkly comic feature examines the lengths that an individual will go to in order to achieve their dreams, even when they know reality may not match up.
One of the defining movements in British history is captured on screen in Sarah Gavorn’s ‘Suffragette.’ This powerful film features powerhouse performances from Carey Mulligan and Helena Bonham Carter as Maud Watts and Edith New, two of the central characters in the ‘suffrage’ movement in the early 20th century. ‘Suffragette’ has been praised for its unflinching look at the evolution of the group, from its peaceful origins to the acts of protest that brought the attention of the world to the issue of women’s rights in Britain.
Australian actor, director and writer Jeremy Sims rounds off this announcement for the Cinema of The World programme with his heartwarming epic, ‘Last Cab to Darwin’, which tells the tale of Rex, a Broken Hill cab driver, on his 3000km journey across Australia. Having spent his entire life shunning personal relationships, Rex discovers he has stomach cancer and so, unwilling to burden anyone with his care, he begins his epic journey to Darwin where newly passed euthanasia laws would allow him to take his life into his own hands. On his seemingly endless travels across Australia the distant cabbie meets a handful of travelers who force him to reevaluate his life, and it is at this point that Rex decides that a life not shared is a life not lived.